A Pinch of Salt
Salt is a hot topic these days in regard to health, particularly high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. There is always talk of the dangers of ingesting too much of it – mainly in processed foods, but also when added to meals at the table.
The most common and typical salt used in the US is table salt. If you look at many of the ingredient labels of the different brands of table salt you will likely find three or four ingredients listed. Those ingredients are salt (sodium chloride), calcium silicate or other anti-caking agent, dextrose (sugar), and if iodized, potassium iodide.
Problems with Table Salt
Let’s look at the problems with this type of salt. To begin, table salt has been refined – chemically stripped of beneficial minerals which are referred to as “impurities”, leaving only sodium chloride. This salt is then bleached through another chemical process, and then anti-caking agents are added. These anti-caking agents consist of more chemicals. Dextrose is then added as a stabilizer to enable the iodine to stay in the salt and most likely to make it more addicting (my opinion!). With diabetes affecting a large percentage of the population these days, eating a bit of sugar every time you salt your food cannot be a good thing. It’s no wonder salt has a bad rap! You basically have a lifeless and worthless product that is only good for one thing, ensuring a long shelf life.
Salt is an essential element
We all need some salt to maintain good health, as it is an essential element for life. Throughout history, it has been used to preserve and improve the flavor of food, as well as maintain proper electrolyte balance in the body. In ancient times, salt had nearly the same value as gold, and was important in the practice of many religions (Brownstein, 2006).
The salt we need for good health, though, is not typical table salt. Our bodies need certain minerals and trace elements to function properly. The balance of minerals with sodium and chloride is a better combination for the body. According to David Brownstein, M.D., author of SALT Your Way To Health and other experts, the magnesium and calcium in whole unrefined salt allows the sodium chloride to be absorbed while maintaining healthy blood pressure. It is a more balancing, alkalizing form that our bodies can utilize for health instead of deteriorating it. Additionally, the pH of unrefined salt is more neutral. Refined, bleached table salt lacks the buffering effect of the minerals, making it an acidifying substance in the body (Brownstein, 2006).
Pinch of Salt – Unrefined Salt
I am suggesting that you change the salt you eat to an unrefined salt. Not that you eat more or less salt than you are now, but just to taste. You will not miss the old salt. You will likely find the new varieties more satisfying and full bodied because of their minerals. The ones that I recommend are Celtic Sea salt, Redman’s Real salt and Himalayan pink salt. You can purchase any these at any health food store, and in the health food aisles of other grocery stores. These are all whole salts with plenty of minerals and trace minerals occurring naturally. Not only does this type of salt support good health, but it will also greatly enhance the flavor of your food!
- Brownstein M.D., David. SALT Your Way To Health. West Bloomfield, Michigan: Medical Alternatives Press, 2006.
Looking for other essential elements? Check out this post on Iodine.