Michelle Rupp: JJ Mayo joins us now. JJ we’re talking salt.

JJ Mayo, PhD: Goodness. Salt love it.

MR: So, one year, we love it the next year. We hate it. One year, it’s going to kill us the next year is our best friend. Like what is the deal?

JM: Let’s talk about salt. That is a big topic, you know, because there are millions of Americans that have high blood pressure and but when you look at salt, let’s just take a step back basically. Salt is, we think of sodium but it’s actually sodium chloride, right? It’s like only 40% sodium and 60% chloride and sodium is important. We need it for a lot of functions in our body, things like muscle contraction and nerve conduction and fluid balance. And that’s where we get in trouble sometimes with its effects on blood pressure. But you know, salt is really important. And another thing about salt is that I don’t know if you use your listeners know this, but it has iodine in it. So, we have iodized salt. Just some of the salt, like I just brought one with you probably can’t see it, but it says on there and I saw this one comes and tells you. But most of the table salt that we buy at the store. It’s going to have some idea because what that does is it helps the thyroid there’s a condition called goiter that happens if you’re low in iodine. So, to solve that problem they put it in salt and it’s in all kinds of different varieties that you can buy at the store.

MR: So how much salt do we really need to be getting in our diet or on a daily basis?

JM: That’s the scary thing, right? We know it’s important, but we just don’t need that much of it. We need about 23-2400 mg of salt, that’s what they recommend. And even if you’ve got high blood pressure it might be less. How much is 2300 mg. This is it a teaspoon, it’s not that much a teaspoon of salt is all we really need. And so, think about what we do and when we go to our restaurants or even at home and my parents were like this, they didn’t even taste the food and they’re already putting salt on it because they just they just what they do is a habit right? So, we need about a teaspoon or less and most of us get double triple or more than they need.

MR: And is that a teaspoon or less a day.

JM: Yes.

MR: Yea, that’s going to be hard for some people to wrap their brains around, right?

JM: It is. And so, think about that the next time you are going to try to salt your food.

MR: So, when when’s a good time to start cutting back? And I guess maybe first if you’ve never had a problem or never been told that you have high blood pressure or that you need to be concerned about salt. Should it still be in the back of your mind how much you’re consuming?

JM: Absolutely. Because that can lead because essentially what happens is with people overdo salt over a long period of time that when you have extra salt in your bloodstream, you know, we know it’s salt kind of sucks in the water and pulls water with it and it pulls it into the bloodstream and that’s what causes their blood pressure to be high because there’s more fluid volume there in the bloodstream so that increases your pressure over time. Not going to do it overnight, but it will over time. And even if you do have high normal blood pressure, right, it’s not a problem. You still need to think about, okay I don’t need really that much. Right? If I’m going to add some so yeah, if you don’t have a problem, you still need to have in the back of the mind. You probably don’t need it; you want to season your food but you don’t have to always do it with salt right? You don’t have to always just put salt on everything. So and then and definitely if you do have high blood pressure, you want to cut it back best you can.

MR: What are your thoughts on the salt substitutes are those good substitutes to be ingesting.

JM: Yeah, I mean they’re okay. I mean I would personally suggest that you do things like you season your foods with herbs and spices and some of these other options besides there’s a lot of enjoy pepper so I pepper a lot of things put pepper on my food but there’s all kinds of other seasonings and spices you can use without and to make your food taste good because that’s what it’s all about. Besides putting salt on there.

MR: What are your thoughts because there are so many different varieties of salt on the market. You’ve got the Morton salt with the umbrella; you have sea salt and pink salt and Himalayan salt and so is one better than the other. Or are they relatively all really salt is salt?

JM: Yeah, I would pretty much tell people to save their money. I know you can buy the pink Himalayan organic salt whatever. You know, you can buy that, and the Himalayan salt will have a few more minerals in them than like regular table salt but you can get that from eating real food. So, I would always suggest you get that from real food and save your money and just buy the regular table salt? I don’t think you need anything fancy in my opinion.

MR: Is there ever a point where we need to just leave it alone. Just leave salt alone. Just forget it exists.

JM: Yeah, I mean because here you and you try to limit it because everything that you eat has salt in it almost. You don’t think about it. You know, one of the biggest offenders. I’ve got it right here. My ole chunky soup, Right? I mean, you think about the soups and gravies and the condiments and everything that we consume is going to and one of the reasons is because it increases the shelf life, right? It increases it. You know, this thing is set on the shelf for good, wow, but that’s why they do that. Right? It definitely it maybe as flavor but it increases shelf life.

MR: You know, I once heard a nutritionist say if you are looking on the back of a can, if you are reading those labels and you look at the back of the can and the sodium, there’s more sodium than what there are calories. You need to put that can back up on the shelf because you do not need to be putting that in your body.

JM: Well, that’s great. I like that because if you look, I’m just looking at my eyes are pretty bad one because there are two, there are two cups in this in this can and there’s almost 800 mg of sodium and in one serving, right? So that’s so that’s like 1500. We said you only need you know that about 1500 if you have high blood pressure 23 you can get away with. So, there’s a lot in a can of soup.

MR: And using that can of soup, how many only pour half the can and a bowl generally you dumped the entire thing in.

JM: Absolutely. Yeah. The soups, the gravies, the condiments, the processed meats. Or anything that’s processed. I guess that would be the recommendation. You know is just eat real food and try to limit the processed foods because those are the ones that are going to have that extra sodium and salt in it. So just be careful read the label. That’s another good tip. You know? It’s just like we did write, read the label to actually see how much is in there because you don’t know until you read the label

MR: The more you know. Alright JJ. Thank you for joining us today.

JM: I appreciate it.

MR: And thank you so much for joining us. We’ll see you back here next week for more AFMC TV.