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Salt. One day it's good for you; the next it's bad. Even researchers can't agree. It used to be standard advice that salt was absolutely evil and would spike your blood pressure resulting in heart attacks and stroke. Should we be demonizing an element that we need to stay healthy?

•Supports our nervous system (sodium and chloride, which make up salt)
•Regulates blood pressure – keeps it from going too low or too high.
•Helps maintain acid-base balance and blood volume.
•Supports the function of the adrenal glands which produce many vital hormones, including the stress and sex hormones.

Sure we can have too much, but how much is too much? There doesn't seem to be a simple answer as salt requirements seem to vary amongst individuals. Some people experience an increase in blood pressure when they consume higher levels of salt, while others are less sensitive. Unless you do suffer from hypertension, you probably don't need to obsess over the amount of salt in your diet. Better to focus instead on healthy living by minimizing the amount of sugar and processed foods you consume (processed foods tend to be very high in salt content), managing your stress, getting enough sleep and eating more vegetables, lean meats and healthy fats.

While salt certainly has an impact on our wellbeing, you may not be aware that it can help you look good too. Here are 10 ways:

1.Salt is a great ingredient for a facial. Combine olive oil with salt (finer is better) and rub the mixture into your skin. When you rinse it off, you'll find that your face feels smoother and softer, due to a gentle exfoliation.

2.Salt rubbed onto dry itchy skin after a bath or shower can help improve circulation and remove dead skin (exfoliation) which is often the source of the dryness and itchiness.

3.A salt soak (equal parts of baking soda, Epsom salts and sea salts) can help reviving tired, swollen achy feet and sore muscles.

4.A salt mouth wash (equal parts of ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon baking soda in ¼ cup water) can freshen breath.
5.Salt can help relieve the itch and irritation associated with mosquito bites, bee stings and poison ivy.

6.To detoxify (if you're into detoxing). Use a combination of 1 cup Epsom salt, ½ cup sea salt and 1 tablespoon of kaolin clay for a detoxifying bath soak.

7.Wavy, beach hair. Mix sea salt, coconut oil and water in a spray bottle. Spritz on wet hair to create the beach wave look when dried. How much salt you use depends on the level of curl you want and coconut oil on dryness of hair.

8.Facial toner for acne prone skin. Mix 1 teaspoon of sea salt with 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray on face (keep out of eyes). Make sure to moisturize your skin as well.

9.For dry calloused feet. Mix equal parts sea salt with cornmeal and baking powder for a perfect feet treat. Soak feet first to soften, then scrub and moisturize.

10.Brighten your nails. Mix 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon sea salt and soak nails to reduce yellowing and remove dirt.

Care to share any other beauty tricks with salt?

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed] 

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