As mentioned in the earlier chapter on salt, any mineral obtained through a food will be more useable by the body than a mineral obtained in any other way, and sodium is no exception in this case. There are those in the raw food community that maintain that any vitamin or mineral obtained outside of a food source is not only unusable by the body but actually a toxin that harms the body. While that may not always be true, certainly the absolute best sources of vitamins and minerals do come from foods.
Salt, in its inorganic form, as found in the salt shaker, is actually sodium chloride, a compound formed when sodium and chlorine bond together. However, salt in food is in the form of sodium, not sodium chloride. It is in this form that it will be most useable by the body.
|Foods Naturally High in Sodium|
|Per 3½ oz. of food||mg Sodium|
Sodium and potassium are responsible for maintaining the correct fluid levels in the body as well as in the body’s cells. The general consensus is that the potassium to sodium ratio should be 1:1 or 2:1, but some even suggest a ratio as high as 3:1. However, with the SAD diet, the ratio is turned around and the amount of salt consumed by the average American is far in excess of the amount of potassium. Some foods high in potassium are avocado, with 6 ounces containing 1080 mg, orange juice, with one cup containing 500 mg, and bananas, with one medium banana containing 470 mg of potassium.
Another source of both sodium and potassium is sea vegetables such as kelp, dulse, laver, and nori, which contain not only a balanced ratio of sodium and potassium but are also a good source of iodine as well as an assortment of trace minerals. Since processed iodized table salt should be eliminated, sea vegetables can become an important source of iodine, if not the sole source.
One note of caution on sodium: With all the hazards of excess salt in the American diet, it is possible to go too low on sodium. If all external salt is eliminated and the loss of sodium is not compensated for by increasing intake of high-sodium foods, one of the results can be extreme fatigue. Outside of a vitamin B12 deficiency, a lack of sodium is probably the second biggest problem someone will face on a predominately raw-food diet. If the foods high in sodium or sea vegetables are not consumed for some reason, the next best source of sodium is a good quality, natural Celtic sea salt. Although Celtic sea salt is sodium in an inorganic form, it has never been kiln-fired and is more useable by the body than common table salt, though less useable by the body than sodium from a food source.
In a lecture on raw foods, David Wolfe, an influential promoter of the raw-food movement, mentioned the dangers of a diet too high in fruit, which contains almost no sodium:
You say, “I go on raw foods. . .I can eat only fruit now.” And that is one of the biggest traps. I can tell you exactly what is going to happen:
1) There is not enough minerals in the fruits that exist today.
2) The fruit is almost never ripe…so it has a propensity to have a lot of acids, which have a reducing affect on our body, and can literally suck minerals out of our body.
3) They will go dangerously low on salt, because a true fruit diet will have no salt in it.
And by the way on salt, some people need more than others. Some people do better with more and some people do better with less. Some people can eat celery only for salt, and some people can’t. And we do differ. . . .
Another beneficial way to get sodium is to drop a stick of celery into the juicer while making your favorite juice. A mixture of carrot and celery juice is very complimentary to each other. Dr. Norman Walker wrote in Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices, “The combination of celery with other juices is generally beneficial, and certain formulas have been used to help clear up deficiency and other conditions in the body, with almost phenomenal results.” Dr. Walker went on to write, “In the case of nervous afflictions resulting from the degeneration of the sheathing of the nerves, the abundant use of carrot and celery juice has helped to restore these to their normal condition and thus alleviate or remove the affliction.”