Salt Deficiency: The Benefits of a High Salt Diet, by Sophia Ruiz

salt deficiency

A salt deficiency is more common than you think. We don’t consume nearly as much as we should, mostly because of our fear that salt causes high blood pressure.

the salt myth

What comes to mind when you think of salt?

Probably high blood pressure. it’s time to change the stigma around salt!

A recent study was conducted that followed 2,600 women and men for 16 years. they found no evidence to suggest that a low-sodium diet lowered blood pressure — in fact, those that consumed 4,000mg of sodium per day had the lowest recorded blood pressure in the study.

The study also presents evidence for the blood-pressure-lowering benefits of essential minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium — those that had a balanced diet of these minerals along with a higher sodium intake had more stable blood pressure over the long term.

The decrease in blood pressure that some experience from cutting salt intake is not a result of true lowered blood pressure, but rather a decrease in blood volume.

ancestral salt consumption

In ancient times, some cultures, like the Romans, ate upwards of 25g of salt per day and others even up to 100g!

While we may only eat muscle meat today, our ancestors ate the whole animal: the bones, blood, organs, brains, and more. the blood and interstitial fluid itself could provide a week’s worth of sodium!

Before refrigerators, salt was used to preserve food and hence, we had a much higher salt intake.

the benefits of salt

Increased circulation/vasodilation: Sodium increases circulation and blood volume and dilates blood vessels. This is important for transporting nutrients into tissues and cells and regulating heart rate.

Better gym performance: Salt helps to remove acid from cells that can cause muscle cramping and stiffness.

Weight loss: A lot of weight loss programs use calorie-counting to encourage weight loss but forget about vital weight loss tips like restoring insulin sensitvity. Improving a salt deficiency can remove one of the factors that can cause insulin resistance. Since the body uses insulin to signal the kidneys to store sodium when levels become depleted, a chronic salt deficiency results in adverse effects on insulin levels and glucose tolerance that can promote fat storage. A successful weight loss plan should emphasize the importance of healthy salts.

Thyroid function: During one hour of exercise, you can lose up to 110mcg of iodine through your sweat. Consuming iodine-rich salt like himalayan pink salt can help to replenish this thyroid-boosting mineral.

Decreased stress levels: One of the least acknowledged stress causes is a salt deficiency. low salt intake activates the sympathoadrenal system that results in stress symptoms like increased heart rate, promotes insulin resistance, and hypertension. Eating a diet with adequate salt reduces the activation of the stress system that is caused by a salt deficiency, allowing you to focus on external stress management.

Better digestion: One of the key components of the digestive system is stomach acid — which is composed of hydrogen chloride gas and water. Salt promotes digestive health by providing chloride to the body and promoting the production of healthy stomach acid levels. this prevents digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and dysbiosis.

Reduces brain fog: Sufficient salt intake provides the electrolytes needed for neurons to fire properl

Prevents addictive behaviors: In a state of salt deficiency, our body compensates by hyperactivating the dopamine reward system in the brain. This is to encourage us to satisfy the craving for salt, but it can also exaggerate the effects of things that stimulate the release of dopamine — like sugar and cocaine.

the right salts

Iodized table salt doesn’t have all of the extra minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium that are essential for the body. Himalayan pink salt, celtic sea salt, or salts from ancient oceans are much healthier and beneficial to our bodies. Dr. James DiNicolantonio advocates for 3,000-6,000mg of salt per day.

ways to increase salt intake

Citrus “salt juice”: Add 1/4 tsp of one of the salts listed above to 8-12oz of water with a squeeze of lemon or lime to neutralize the salty taste of the water. Slowly start to increase the amount of salt until it becomes too salty for you. This is a super easy way to boost your salt intake.

Always salt your food: Salting all of your food to taste makes sure you are getting a dose of sodium at each meal.

Dose salt before a gym run: We lose a lot of salt when we exercise, so it’s important to make sure you’re replenishing your salt levels. Dosing a teaspoon of salt with lots of citrus in some water before the gym can help you to maintain your salt levels.

Drink mineral water: Water from natural mineral-rich springs contain beneficial minerals and salt that can provide a natural sodium source.

A healthy part of a wellness lifestyle is including healthy salts in your diet. I hope this post cures your salt phobia and encourages you to make salt part of your daily routine!

Sophia Ruiz is a freelance writer, wellness blogger, and trained esthetician from San Francisco, CA, now living in Toledo, OH. She shares science-based health, fitness, and lifestyle tips. Learn more about Sophia on

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/curvenutrition

Website: CurveWellness.com

 

 

 

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Soak It All In With DIY Herbal Bath Bombs

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Bath bombs are a great alternative to bubble bath, which is often laced with dyes, perfumes, SLS and parabens.  As you soak in a bath, your skin is absorbing what is in your bath water, so you might want to ensure you are using only natural, chemical-free ingredients.

Baking soda fizzes in water, so as you drop a ‘bomb’ into the bath, it fizzes up in a sort of bubbly explosion, releasing all of it’s wonderful ingredients.

In these I used

  • baking soda: is alkaline and soothes irritated skin
  • cornstarch: gives a nice consistency and soothes irritated skin
  • epsom salt: relaxes muscles, soothes the nervous system
  • olive oil: moisturizing
  • dried flowers or bath tea blend: oats, chamomile, lavender and calendula all soothe skin
  • essential oils: sweet orange uplifts the mind, lavender relaxes the body
  • citric acid powder: naturally exfoliates dead skin cells

I also played around by adding red clay and beetroot powder to some of the balms, different essential oils and different dried flowers. Get creative! Make sure you do a patch test on your skin before using the bath bomb to ensure you do not have an allergy or intolerance to any of the ingredients.

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Recipe makes 9 standard muffin sized bombs

In a glass bowl, combine:

  • 1/4 cup citric acid powder
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup epsom salt
  • 1 cup baking soda

Mix well, then add:

  • 1 tsp olive oil or other carrier oil
  • 10 drops essential oil of choice
  • 1/4 cup (SLOWLY) water or witch hazel

It is crucial that you slowly add the water or witch hazel as not to dissolve the baking soda.  If your dry ingredients start fizzing, you have poured the liquid in too fast and the powder will all dissolve. Once liquid has been successfully mixed in to the dry ingredients, the consistency should be spongy so it sticks together when squeezed.

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Prepare muffin tins with liners and fill the bottom of each one with dried flowers.

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Press mixture into each muffin cup and firmly press down. Allow to dry for several hours before removing from muffin tins. Store in a tin or tightly sealed jar away from moisture. Drop one into a warm bath when ready to use.

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Did you try this recipe? Upload your creation and tag us on Insta!

Jen Casey is a Holistic Nutritionist with Next Bite Nutrition Coaching in Vancouver, BC. She focuses her practice on whole body wellness and building a solid foundation for the pillars of health. Learn more about Jen and her healthy meal plans on Instagram.

5 Ways You Can Use Apple Cider Vinegar To Shine Up Your Skin + Hair

Apple Cider Vinegar, or ACV, has been used for centuries for external and internal benefits.

When processed, ACV is fermented, the sugars turn into alcohol, and you are left with a vinegar which is a similar PH to skin.  The acetic, lactic, citric, and other acids in the apple cider vinegar help to dissolve dead skin cells, revealing a shiny, fresh layer and restore the acid balance of your skin.

There are many benefits of ACV when used internally, and Bragg’s website claims a few important benefits of using their vinegar externally, including

  • Helps maintain healthy skin
  • Helps promote youthful, healthy bodies
  • Soothes irritated skin
  • Relieves muscle pain from exercise

When purchasing ACV, be sure that the “Mother” exists.  This ensures that the best part of the apple has not been destroyed during processing and that it is rich in it’s natural minerals and enzymes.

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We have 5 ways to use this natural pantry staple in your weekly skin and hair care regime:

  1. Fight oily skin and acne with a purifying ACV mask, made of 1 TBLSP green clay to help draw impurities, and 1 TBLSP ACV to balance PH.  Apply liberally (avoid eyes), leave on for 15 minutes and rinse.

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    Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
  2. Shine up dull skin using ACV to dissolve dead skin cells.  Apply vinegar to your skin using a cotton ball dampened with purified water. Repeat weekly.
  3. Add shine to dull hair that is built up with product.  Add 1 TBLSP ACV in a small bowl of water.  Pour over hair and comb through.  Rinse. This is one of my weekly treatments that leaves my hair so soft and shiny.hair
  4. Eliminate odour and fungus from feet! Soak feet in a bowl of warm water with 1/2 cup ACV and Tea Tree Oil (5 drops). Soak for 15 minutes, rinse off and towel dry well.

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    Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
  5. Soothe sunburns, sore muscles and rashes by adding 1/2 cup ACV to your bath water.  Soak for 15-20 minutes.

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    Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Jen Casey is a Holistic Nutritionist with Next Bite Nutrition Coaching in Vancouver, BC. She focuses her practice on whole body wellness and building a solid foundation for the pillars of health. Learn more about Jen and her healthy meal plans on Instagram.

The Sweet Truth: A Diet Full of Sugar Can Contribute to a Face Full of Wrinkles

Sure, we are entitled to our cake. The problem begins with a diet high in sugar, little exercise and detoxification, and genes that predispose you to accelerated aging by glycation.

Glycation, or A.G.E., standing for Advanced Glycation End Products, is a process where sugar, or glucose, binds to collagen protein in the skin. The body needs sugar for energy, but excess sugar that is not properly metabolized will store in the body. The process is similar to a caramelization of the skin from the inside out. This damages skin, sort of in the same way as charring a burger on the barbeque. The result of this ‘caramelization’ is A.G.E., where the skin’s fibers become rigid, and topically, skin is cracked and thin. Further, when the skin’s supportive structure is damaged, we might see cellulite and poor wound healing.

So, how can you be proactive in protecting your skin from glycation?

  • Reduce refined sugar in your diet. Speak to a Nutritionist to learn how to replace damaging foods with healthy alternatives, curb cravings and balance blood sugar.
  • Incorporate fitness, including cardio and weight-bearing exercises, at least 3 times each week. Speak to a professional about setting up a routine that is right for you and your lifestyle.
  • Avoid lifestyle factors that will accelerate aging, like smoking, alcohol consumption and overexposure to sun.
  • See a professional about having your blood glucose levels tested. Diabetics are at a greater risk for glycation due to a lessened ability to break down sugars in food.
  • Have your skin tested for genetic markers, with a SkinDNA test, that pinpoint the glycation process in your body. One in two people are genetically predisposed to reduced protection against glycation. Once you have results, you can customize your skin care products to target glycation, with specific protective ingredients.

Bottom line, be proactive daily in protecting your skin. Aging is a beautiful process and we can accelerate it, embrace it, and even slow down the visible effects, all with diet and lifestyle.  It’s all about our choices.

10 Natural Ways to Boost Immunity This Winter Season

I wish I had taken better care of myself before I got sick! Sound familiar? Now is the time to boost immunity, while the colds and flus are lingering around, waiting to attack your immune system and take you down with the others.

As an alternative to medications, I always begin with natural remedies, and this includes food.  Food is medicine, after all. Plants contain powerful antioxidants that kill bacteria, fight off free radicals that break down cells, and boost our immune system. Start with these 10 tips and easy-to-find foods that you can incorporate into meals daily to get a jump start on your health and be armed for this coming cold and flu season.

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  1. Cut the chemicals.  I’m talking about smoking, alcohol and drugs.  These deplete your antioxidants -aka natural defenses- and make you more at risk for getting sick.
  2. Up the vitamin C.  You probably already know this one.  What you might not know is that vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and you have to take it daily because you lose it through perspiration and urination. You can find it in citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, leafy greens, papaya and tomatoes.
  3. Oil of Oregano. The oil comes from oregano (obviously) but the plant is actually a member of the mint family. The phenols, or chemical compounds found in oregano oil, can kill Candida albicans, E. coli,  and Giardia, while another of it’s components actually boosts the immune system and helps to protect against further damage. (Purely Healthful Oregano Oil, J. Tellier Johnson, ND)
  4. Exercise. This helps move lymph, allowing it to circulate through your body, get processed by your liver, and then excess toxins are excreted.  Perspiration also allows the release of toxins and endorphins!
  5. Garlic. A superstar that boosts the natural killer cells in your body to help fight off illness.  Garlic works best when you crush a raw clove and let it sit for a minute to release it’s allicin enzyme (through a few other reactions), and this is where all the magic happens.
  6. Say no to sugar. Sugar supresses your immune system by shutting down the cells that fight bacteria.  Have some healthy snack alternatives always on hand and read the nutrition facts label to see the source of the sugar in your food.
  7. Protein. A deficiency in protein can lead to decreased immune function, ending in infection.  Protein is also important when recovering from illness, to build back up and repair the body. This means plant-based or animal protein.  Just be sure that you are combining your plant-based proteins to make complete proteins.  Contact me if you would like to learn more about building a balanced meal plan.
  8. Get your Zzzz’s. You know how it goes… you’re up too late, you’re working too much, you ca’t catch up on sleep and – boom – you get sick.  And you say to yourself, “Of course I’m sick.  I’ve been going like crazy and I am rundown”.  Sleep is an important time to let the body and brain rest, recover and reset.  High cortisol levels lead to no sleep, and lack of sleep can be taxing on your nervous system and suppress your immune system. Create a sleep routine where screens are off at a decent hour, the room is dark, and get at least 7 hours sleep each night.
  9. Phytonutrients.  Nutrients found in plants that have antioxidant properties, help to fight off sickness and disease.  These are easily obtained through colourful vegetables, fruits (eat the rainbow), dark leafy greens, beans, green tea, even dark chocolate!
  10. Fibre.  Fibre binds to toxins and excess hormones to help excrete them, and reduces inflammation in the body.  Aim for about 25g fibre each day through veggies, fruit, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

So, you have the self care tools to defend yourself against this season’s bugs. Set your mind to sickness is not an option, eat more plants, rely on nature.  She has your back.

5 Ways to Increase Your Energy at Work

It is easy to get caught up at work and forget about the most important thing in your day…YOU! By Friday, you might feel exhausted, over-worked, and down right done.  There are a few ways to amp up your energy during the week and enhance your mood so you feel a little less exhausted by week’s end.  And, you don’t have to drink coffee on your breaks to get that energy boost. Here, we use nutrition and movement as your 2 best tools:

  1. Eat Snacks with Staying Power: Choose snacks that do not come from a package and do contain protein and fat. This way, they take longer to digest as they regulate blood sugar better than eating simple carbs. Always be prepared and bring your snacks to work.  When hunger strikes or energy is low, you won’t be tempted to grab for the ‘wrong’ choice.  Try peanut butter + banana, walnuts + blueberries, roasted chick peas + fruit, hard boiled egg + veggies sticks, or hummus  + cucumber.chickpeas
  2. Hydrate Without Coffee or Sugar: Avoid soda pop, bottled drinks, and fancy coffee drinks that are high in sugar and will spike your blood glucose levels…leading to a crash. Try replacing coffee with green tea, flavoured water with lemon and mint, ginseng tea, and coconut water for ultimate hydration.
  3. Get Outside: 15-20 minutes of vitamin D from the sunshine increases mood and energy, and decreases your risk of many diseases and depression.  Fresh air lowers anxiety, cleans your lungs, lowers your heart rate and aids in digestion.  Try even a short walk around the block during your break.
  4. Turn Away From All Screens: This also means phones, games, social media. Try not to take your coffee break at your desk.  Get a fresh perspective and view, and let your eyes rest.  Try closing your eyes and listen to a guided coffee break meditation. This is your time to recharge and not work.
  5. Stretch It Out, aka Deskercise: Standing up and stretching will revitalize you, increase blood flow and instantly energize.  Staring at a computer, sitting too long, lifting and sorting will all leave your body feeling sore and tired.  Try some simple stretches once or twice a day to get blood flowing, stay limber, ease muscle tension, reduce headaches and eye strain, and improve your overall health.forest

Jen Casey is a Holistic Nutritionist with Next Bite Nutrition Coaching in Vancouver, BC. She focuses her practice on whole body wellness and building a solid foundation for the pillars of health. Learn more about Jen and her healthy recipes on Instagram.

5 Natural Ways to Wake Up Your Mind, Body + Spirit (Yes, sex is on the List)

What is the first thing that goes through your mind when the sun peeks in and wakes you in the morning? Is it a crazy dream that you are trying to analyze, or is it the hundred things on your list for the day? Whatever it might be, those first few moments before you get out of bed set the tone for your entire day.

Are you familiar with the expression, “Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed today?” This is precisely what I’m going on about. Taking the time for breakfast is number one, because if you don’t, you will not have the energy you need to sustain your day. But, before you head to the kitchen for that overnight chia pudding, these 5 steps could greatly improve your mind, body and spirit:

  1. Drink a shot.  Before coffee, mix up some ACV (apple cider vinegar) with 1/2 tsp grated ginger and a squeeze of lemon. I suggest a shot because this has a distinctive taste that you might want to just get down quickly.  The benefits: Warming, alkalizing, and stimulates your digestive enzymes for better metabolism throughout your day.
  2. Wake your skin up with coffee. Again, before drinking your coffee, hop into the shower with a cup of coffee grounds mixed with brown sugar and a bit of olive oil instead. Rub this invigorating concoction all over your face and body, rinse well. The benefits: Stimulates blood circulation, the aroma of coffee naturally wakes you up, skin exfoliation and toning.
  3. Uplift with Rosemary + cold water. On the floor of your shower, try adding 3 drops of Rosemary essential oil (Rosmarinus officinalis) and let the aromatherapy steam up into your face. You can even add a drop into your shampoo and massage it into your scalp. Just before you are ready to get out, turn off the hot water, turn up the cold and take it all in for 30 seconds. The benefits: Rosemary naturally improves memory and enhances alertness.  Cold water closes your pores, improves circulation and can effectively relieve depression.
  4. Set your intention for the day. This daily practice could change your life. It allows for clarity and focus.  Whether you stay in bed for a short guided meditation, or take a few minutes to journal your thoughts for day, your mind and spirit will greatly benefit. Ask yourself, How do I want to feel today?. You have control of your mindset and, by setting your intention, you have something to come back to if you feel like your day is going astray on you. The benefits: Empowerment, clarity, control and self-direction, accountability, and a useful tool to filter out how you do not want to feel.
  5. Have morning sex. You bet.  You could pair this up with exercise, but why would you? We can just skip ahead to…  The benefits: Sex improves connection with your partner, self confidence and self love, stimulates blood flow and circulation (an immune booster!), and releases oxytocin, the feel good hormone. Even taking time for a quickie in the morning will leave you calm and ready to take on your day.

So, tomorrow morning, before you start your day, consider what side of the bed you want to wake up on. You get to choose.

5 ways to wake up
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