The reason why salt comes up so frequently in this eczema healing discussion, is that it seems to be in almost everything we eat. It’s a stimulatory flavour enhancer, and it’s one of the hardest things to cut out. Packaged foods, processed foods, ready meals and restaurant food is typically loaded with salt to enhance the flavour, and as a result, the daily average salt consumption in the UK is more than 8g. The government recommends limiting salt intake to 6g, in an effort to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and hypertension.
Frankly, this is like reducing from 80 to 60 cigarettes per day in an attempt to reduce the risk of lung cancer. In most first-world countries, there seem to be these delicate little efforts to help people’s health – they never take these health problems by the scruff of the neck, and actually give advice that will make a radical difference. Some believe this is because of the litigious societies we live in, and governments are scared of the repercussions if anything went wrong; others believe this is a purposeful move to keep people sick, and thus support the drugs companies that aid so much in a country’s economy.
Going back to the government recommendation of 6g per day, this is ludicrously high, considering the climate of the UK, and how little the average person sweats. The 6g recommendation is likely to have come from reviewing the actual intake, and then recommending a value that would look achievable. For real health gains, a much lower salt consumption than this is needed. Personally, I aim for under 1g of salt per day, unless I have been sweating a lot (unusual in the UK climate.)
First off, salt stores around 100 times its own weight in water. So if you eat 5 grams of salt, that’s half a kilo of water weight your body will store to effectively dilute the salt. Many pudgy people you see around are not storing excess fat, they’ve just eaten too much salt, not exercised enough, and are retaining water. The problem this causes for eczema sufferers is the inflammation around areas of their skin that are being used as vicarious elimination zones for toxins. The salt will increase itching, increase swelling, and will slow down the passing of toxins through urination, due to its water retaining effect.
In addition to this, salt is also a stimulant. All stimulants work to disguise an aspect of how we are really feeling, and numb sensations that we really should be aware of, if we are to have a good relationship with our bodies. How can we listen to our bodies effectively if we have used stimulants to turn off certain sensors? Many stimulants, salt included, act as appetite suppressants. This can mean that you will not eat enough of your whole food, plant-based meals and end up craving unhealthy foods once the caloric deficit has added up.
Make it easy for yourself
Being free of excess salt can be very encouraging in our quest for good skin, because we will immediately have less inflammation and puffiness. It can also help us to look slimmer and leaner, if we have aims of that nature. I highly recommend exercise, sweating, and the use of saunas in cooler countries as part of the healing process, and this can mean that we don’t have to be too meticulous about our salt consumption. Definitely adopt a much lower intake than your government is likely to recommend though.
I’ve always been a salt addict – a natural ‘savoury tooth’, (as well as a sweet tooth!) But over time, my taste buds have adjusted to appreciate the taste of food without salt. As the body alkalises, our desire for salt reduces. Don’t add salt to your food – you’ll get plenty if you’re using any kind of shop-bought sauce. And if you are weaning yourself off it, definitely wait until after your food is cooked and only add salt after you’ve tasted it.
Thanks for reading, and always, comment below with any questions, and share this page with people who you know can benefit from the information.