Every home has salt in the kitchen. But there’s a huge difference between the various salts available and being selective about which you use can make a significant difference to your health. Pink Himalayan salt is a healthy alternative to common table salt and contains 84 trace nutrients for your good health.
Salt has been in the spotlight for years and there are many, particularly those with hypertension, warned against salt and now on a low-sodium diet.
However, concern about salt is for everyone not just those with health issues. Most people still use common table salt, or add cooking salt when they prepare foods. But ‘salts ain’t salts’ and the different types present significant health differences.
Salt In The Diet
Most doctors regard high salt consumption as the cause of high blood pressure. However this thinking is the result of just one study and most other studies failed to show a convincing link between high-salt diets and hypertension.
In this article Gary Taubes even suggests it’s a case of public policy clashing with scientific data, resulting in misinformation for the public.
But from more recent studies it appears that fructose (a sugar) consumption may be a far greater cause of hypertension than salt. Far more fructose is consumed than salt and so may have a much greater impact on the incidence of this disease.
High salt intake is seen as contributing to strokes, osteoporosis, fluid retention, weight gain, gastric reflux and stomach cancer. But those in the natural health arena are more inclined to regard salt, or sodium, as an essential in our diet, with certain provisos.
SODIUM IS ESSENTIAL FOR GOOD BODY FUNCTION
Sodium is essential to efficient function in your body and it plays many important roles.
It’s widely recognized as one of the minerals having a crucial role in maintaining the delicate balance that supports effective fluid control in your body, both within and outside the cells. The balance between salt and water in the body is critical and affects all the cells, the blood and the lymphatics.
According to the Mayo Clinic “A low-sodium, high water diet can sometimes disturb the proper balance between sodium and fluids in your blood”
But salt plays a much greater role in you health than simply with fluid control.
Sodium, like fat, is a nutrient that’s needed by the body for health, but not all forms are healthy or safe.
Sodium is an electrolyte found in many foods – fruits, vegetables, legumes and meats. When it occurs in its natural form it helps regulate body fluids, muscle contraction, blood regulation, glucose absorption and nerve function.
When your sodium levels are too low you open the door wide to illness.
Just a few results of inadequate salt are:
- increased bone fractures in the elderly
- increased risk of heart attack
- changes in both your mood and your appetite as salt is a natural antidepressant
Everybody needs to be concerned about salt not just those with health issues. Most people still add common table salt to their food, or add cooking salt when they prepare foods, or even some sea salts which can also be a problem.
But there’s a huge difference between table and cooking salt and other healthy salts.
There are a number of great natural ‘full-spectrum’ salts around which are a wonderful alternative to processed salts that offer so little in the way of micronutrients.
Refined salt fails to meet any of your body’s requirements because your body doesn’t recognise it as a nutrient rich mineral. It upsets your digestion and creates a toxic environment in your body.
Perhaps you’ve noticed coloured salt around. When I first saw Celtic Sea Salt many years ago I was put off by the grey colour.
But the colour is the key to the benefits. Salt should contain a vast range of trace minerals and when it does it takes on the colour of the minerals. The colour is a great indicator that the salt is NOT PROCESSED.
You can tell if any salt is refined or not by the colour.
Table salt is unlike unrefined salts because it doesn’t contain the array of minerals. It’s almost entirely just one mineral, sodium chloride, in fact about 98%, with the rest being made up of toxic additives which act to absorb moisture and stop the salt clumping.
Natural salts, on the other hand, are only about 85% sodium chloride, with the rest being made up of beneficial naturally occurring trace elements and minerals that the body requires, and NO toxic additives
Within the body there are feedback loops which regulate absorption of unrefined salt. Feedback loops don’t function properly with processed salts.
Unrefined salts don’t contribute to disease like hypertension, in the same way that processed salt does because of the feedback loops. This makes your choice of which type you use quite significant.
In olden times salt was used as currency with salt worth its weight in gold – African and European explorers would trade an ounce of salt for an ounce of gold.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF SALT
Table Salt, Sodium chloride, is highly refined and processed. This process ‘cleans the salt up’ by eliminating the minerals and also prolongs the shelf life. It’s dried at very high temperatures, bleached and cleaned.
Like all refined foods the beneficial minerals and macro-nutrients are all lost. As a result of the refining and bleaching process the salt becomes toxic. It can contain chemicals, preservatives and other additives like anti-caking agents.
Once in your body the additives act upon the cells in the same way they do to the salt. Instead of dissolving and mixing with water to be used through every cell as required, sodium builds up in deposits around your tissues and organs where it leads to disease.
Iodine deficiency is very obvious and easily recognized. Early in the 19th century it was seen as a direct result of people changing from using natural salt to table salt. So iodine was added to table salt after processing. Like table salt iodized salt has had all the minerals taken out and only one, iodine, added back in.
Iodine deficiency is quite prevalent amongst the Australian population but the amount of iodine that’s available from salt doesn’t go anywhere near redressing that iodine deficiency.
Note that Kosher Salt is pure sodium chloride.
Sea salt has become more popular over the last decade. Virtually all salt originally came from the sea, even salt found in caves comes from caves that were once under water. So most salt can truthfully be called ‘sea-salt’, and the name is not a reflection of the purity or processed status of the product. It’s sea salt even if it has had the nutrients extracted through processing.
The problem with most sea salts is that much that’s sold has been refined.
The key is to use unprocessed sea salt. If the salt is PURE WHITE then approach it warily. It means the salt has undergone some processing, or washing which strips away the minerals. It’s still ‘sea-salt’, but if it has no colour then it doesn’t contain any of the minerals that provide the health benefits of salt.
If sea salt is pure white it’s probably been bleached. Full-spectrum sea salt is coloured, or at least non-white.
Celtic Sea Salt
Celtic Salt is an example of unrefined sea salt. It’s light grey colour supplies 84 trace minerals needed by the human body in a bio-available form.
It’s naturally harvested in Brittany, in northwestern France and helps to balance the whole body.
The salt is harvested in a way that preserves its natural state. All unrefined sea salt is extracted from the ocean or saltwater lakes. Salty water’s channelleding into ponds where the sun and wind evaporate off the water. Some waters contain trace minerals and elements and these remain in the salt.
Himalayan salt is mined from the Himalayan foothills. Sometimes it’s called Himalayan Sea Salt as it’s the fossilized end result of salt from an ancient ocean. It’s entirely hand-mined and hand-washed.
It’s the most beautiful translucent pink colour, which reflects the full-spectrum of the 84 different minerals and trace elements it contains, including iron which gives it the lovely colour.
Himalayan salt is very pure and does not contain any heavy metals or toxins. It stores vibrational energy, like other crystals, and does not weigh your body down.
Nutrients occurring naturally together in the one plant or mineral work synergistically, enhancing the action of all the others. A salt containing 84 different trace elements offers loads more benefits to your health. Some minerals found in unrefined salts include magnesium, potassium, zinc, calcium and iron.
My favourite salt is Himalayan salt and I use this organic wholefood in my cooking as well as the salt grinder. One thing I’ve noticed is that it seems more potent than table salt, and I need far less to get the same result.
Stronger impact, loads of trace elements and so many benefits to your body’s functions…seems a better option to me!
Murray River Salt
Murray River Salt is another pink salt containing a range of minerals, from ancient underground saline waters in the Murray Darling Basin region in Australia.
Alaea salt is an unrefined Hawaiian sea salt with a pinkish-brown colour that comes from Hawaiian clay, called ‘alaea’, which is also composed of over 80 separate minerals and rich in iron oxide.
These are another form of healthy salts and a rich source of magnesium, and you can read about them here.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF UNREFINED SALTS
Far from being harmful, natural, unrefined salts can help you in many ways, including these:
- Stabilize and regulate blood pressure and heart beat in conjunction with adequate water
- Reduce the effects of stress
- Maintain blood sugar levels
- Is an alkaline-forming food so helps balance out acidity in your cells
- Calming effect on the whole nervous system
- Improves brain function, where it’s needed for the processing and transmission of information between brain and muscles
- Regulates nerve impulses
- Prevents muscle cramps
- Needed for proper muscle function
- It can prevent and eliminate mucous build-up, and improve respiratory function
- Help maintain optimum water levels in the body
- Help with cell hydration, and carries nutrients in and out of cells
- Supports and builds immune system
- Slows down ageing process
- Better absorption of nutrients
- Needed to produce hydrochloric acid in the stomach
- Strengthens bones – Himalayan salt contains calcium
- Reduces the incidence of gout, arthritis and rheumatism
- Aids adrenal function
- Plus more…..
It’s vital to remember that any salt requires adequate quantities of water in order to function beneficially in your body, so keep hydrated.
Just like everything, consuming too much natural, unrefined salt, is harmful. Too much of the good thing can lead to many of the health problems that small amounts of the same salt can assist or prevent. The key is to get the balance right between enough and too much.
So go ahead. Get some natural, unrefined, wholefood salt and relax, salt your food to taste.
Remember to consume sufficient water, especially during hot weather or when you add exercise to the mix.
And don’t forget that eating more processed food means a higher consumption of harmful salt, which your body does NOT want.
If you already enjoy the benefits of Himalayan or Celtic salt (or another unrefined salt) why not ‘like’ and share this article so others come to know of the benefits also.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on salt in your diet in the reply space below.
All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatment suggested on this site.
- CDC admits long-standing error, there is no benefit in reducing salt (kfor.com)
- Salt (remedycook.wordpress.com)