Another day, another “health” trend you should take with a grain of salt, excuse the pun. This new one involves literally that: drinking salt water.
Like all classic health fads, “Sole” – pronounced “sole-ay” – is based on a sliver of truth and then co-opted by people who are more interested in the deepness of your pockets than your health and wellness.
So what is it, where does it come from, and is it really rubbish?
First of all, you can’t just add regular old table salt to a glass of water. That would be crazy! Right? Not like their special salt water. It's different. Because reasons. Nor can you slurp seawater. Sole is a concentrated solution of natural salts such as pink Himalayan salt and purified water, mixed so the water is at full saturation point, not just half-heartedly dissolved.
The claimed list of benefits from daily drinking of this solution is impressive, if not exhaustive: it reportedly boosts energy, improves digestion, aids weight loss, helps hydration, strengthens bones, reduces varicose veins, helps with muscle cramps, acts as an antihistamine, helps balance blood sugar, prevents arthritis and kidney and gall bladder stones, improves sleep, balances the body’s pH, improves mineral status, reduces blood pressure, and helps the body detoxify.
Hey, if it can do all that, Sole is liquid gold and we want to buy shares.
I mean, we get it, it's pretty and Instagrammable.
Too much salt can increase blood pressure, which puts you at higher risk of suffering a stroke or heart disease, although some studies have suggested that salt in moderation can help lower blood pressure. Table salt is mainly sodium chloride, and though not much better for you, natural salts such as pink Himalayan salt do contain trace minerals. The idea here appears to be that as we lose minerals and electrolytes throughout the day by sweating and generally absorbing water, by drinking Sole we replace those lost minerals and help the body stay hydrated.
That it can detox your body, that your body can even be “detoxed” in this sense, is just a myth – although we know that despite being dismissed by doctors, scientists, registered nutritionists etc, if you are really, really determined to believe in the idea of detox, and give your money to someone somewhere for it, you’re going to.
But any one raw ingredient that could bring about that entire list of health benefits would be miraculous.
“Often we are left confused by these new ‘fads’ we see on the Internet, and this appears to be another one that has surfaced that we may need to be cautious of,” Harley Street nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert told The Independent.
“It’s important to know that any benefits all come from its main ingredient – water!” she added.
Let's be clear here: drinking salt water will not do anything miraculous for you. If you're dehydrated, it might replace a few electrolytes. It will also dehydrate you even further, because hey, that's what salt does. If you're not dehydrated to start with, this will help you on your way.
And if you're insisting that since you've taken up drinking a morning Sole and feel fantastic, ask yourself this: Have you taken up anything else recently that could also be contributing? A change in diet, more exercise? You'd be surprised how often that coincides with the discovery of a new health trend. And of course, there's the reliable old placebo effect. If you believe it works, then it will!