A sprinkle of salt could save your life

When you think of the great villains of our generation, the Morton's Salt girl may not be the first character that comes to mind.

But over the years, salt has been blamed across the board for blood pressure problems -- despite the fact that reducing your salt intake likely won't do a thing to reduce your BP, according to new research.

If your doc has told you to cut sodium to lower your BP and get you on the road to good health, a new study out of Canada shows that he may be mistaken... and may have put you directly in the path of even MORE health problems.

Because less sodium could actually kill you!

Researchers looked at more than 130,000 people from 49 countries with both high and normal BP to see if there was a relationship between salt (sodium chloride) intake and heart disease, stroke, or death.

According to the study, if you've got high BP, keeping below 3,000 mg of sodium daily would actually make you 34 percent MORE likely to have a heart attack or stroke!

Even if you DON'T have high BP, a low-sodium diet of less than 3,000 mg a day can increase your risk of heart attack or stroke by 26 percent.

The fact is, you NEED salt for your muscles and nerves to function properly. And sodium is crucial to restoring your electrolyte balance -- especially after an illness or a big workout.

In order for HIGH levels of sodium to actually increase your risk, researchers found that it would take eating more than 6,000 mg daily. That would be like dumping a teaspoon of Morton Salt onto each of your three meals a day.

Yet the American Heart Association has been telling us for years that we need to max out at 1,500 mg a day.

On average, Americans consume about 3,400 mg of sodium daily -- which, according to this latest study, would be considered a "safe" amount. But, of course, because it's an average, some people consume far less; and some people do consume far more.

You can naturally avoid going overboard with salt by following the Paleo diet, which hearkens back to the days when you didn't eat what you couldn't hunt or gather. Back then, salt was so rare that our ancestors used it for currency!

Fortunately, these days we have access to lots of different types of salt. No offense to that cute little girl on the box, but you can do better than plain ol' table salt.

Try a pinch of kosher salt -- which has a courser grain -- or even sea salt, which can have more of a "flaky" texture. They've got the same sodium amount by weight, but because of their texture, the sodium in courser salts is actually lower by volume.

More importantly, sea salts can be so flavorful on their own that you don't need to add a lot to season your food.