Take it with A Grain of Salt

A Main Component of our Chemistry

We’ve been told how bad salt is for us, that it’s bad for our blood pressure, causes inflammation and puts strain on our liver and kidneys. But in reality, we can’t live without it. Salt exists in very cell of our body, our blood contains salt, and even our sweat is salty. One reason food tastes so much better with salt is because salt is one of our five tastes. In addition to sweet, sour, bitter, etc, we have specific taste buds designated for it. Salt is among the most important minerals supporting our lives and health. In fact, salt is as essential as water.

  • Essential for hydration.   salt
  • Necessary for the production of stomach acid.
  • Crucial for proper cell function and their ability to pump water, nutrients, toxins and fluids in and out of the cell.
  • Balances our electrolytes and pH.
  • Required for proper functioning of our nervous system and contraction of muscles.
  • Important for sinus and respiratory health.
  • Regulates blood pressure.

Our bodies are always trying to balance our water and our salt, and we need them in very controlled combinations and ratios. While obtaining adequate salt is important for maintaining our health, obtaining too much of the wrong kind is harmful. Like fat, sodium is often misunderstood. Sodium and fat are essential nutrients that are vital for our health, but not all forms of them are healthy.

Composition of Salt

Most people know that salt consists of sodium (Na) and chloride (Cl), but do you know that salt also contains other naturally occurring mineral elements in a form that our body can directly absorb. Salt contains over 21 essential and 30 accessory minerals to include magnesium, calcium, selenium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, copper, and zinc, etc. In fact, salt is so mineral rich it contains virtually EVERY mineral on the plant! Unfortunately though, not all salt is created equal. Table salt for example is approx 98% NaCL but that other 2-3% are chemical additives, NOT the naturally occurring micronutrients you would expect to find in real salt.

“Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea.” – Pythagoras

Not All Salt is Created Equal

The source of ALL salt ultimately is (or was) the sea. It’s found in seawater, dead seas, and in mineral deposits of ancient ocean beds within the earth. Therefore ALL salt is really “sea salt” at its origins. In fact most sea salt on the market today is nothing more than white, refined table salt, as large food companies are jumping on the healthy salt bandwagon by capitalizing on the “sea salt” buzz word.

Salt_sources

Image taken with permission from http://realsalt.com/

TRUE sea salts are collected from either:

  • CLEAN ocean water and that water is ONLY evaporated by the heat of the sun. These sea salts are becoming harder and harder to find as most of our current oceans are exposed to environmental pollution requiring tremendous temperatures, and often chemical processing for the salt to be pure enough to be safe to consume. Additionally this processing strips all the naturally occurring trace minerals from salt, giving it the pure white color that you’re used to. And if the salt isn’t white enough, it’s most often bleached.
  • Salt mines from ancient seas that have NOT been subjected to environmental toxins. These salts are obtained by directly scraping the salt off the mineral deposits within the salt mine. This maintains the salt in its most natural state, without additives, chemicals or heat processing, and with all its healthy micronutrients. Natural unrefined sea salt is colorful, depending on where it came from in the world, ranging from gray to brown to a light rose color, and tastes incredible. Just do your own taste test!

salt_ingredients

Have you ever looked at the ingredient label on your salt? It may surprise you. Many salts contain additives such as anti-caking agents, to prevent the absorption of water for ease in pouring, and even dextrose (sugar), which acts as a stabilizer for any added synthetic iodine. Therefore the best, healthiest salt is the one that is unrefined, contains natural trace minerals, and has no additives. Unfortunately reading the label may not be enough. The FDA doesn’t require salt companies to disclose to consumers what has been added to their salts, which could be up to 18 different salt additives. So how do I know which salt to buy? The answer to that question is to do a little research and know your salt sources.

Searching for my Lost Shaker of Salt

Salt_diff

Image taken with permission from http://realsalt.com/

Three top selling brands of real, unrefined sea salt include Real Salt, Celtic Sea Salt, and Himalayan Salt. One of my favorites is Redmond Real Salt because it’s a USA company (their salt comes from an ancient sea bed in Central Utah), it’s one of the healthiest most nutrient-dense salts with over 60 trace minerals, it’s never chemically treated, bleached, or high temperature dried, its price is comparable to other salts, and it tastes absolutely incredible! There is only one ingredient in Redmond Real Salt and that is 100% salt, so if you’ve never compared the taste of REAL salt to a refined brand you’re in for a treat.

REAL_salt

 

What is your favorite REAL sea salt? Please let everyone know by commenting below.

This post is featured on: Fat Tuesday, Fight Back Friday, Healthy Tuesday Hop, Healing with Food Friday, Let’s Get Real Blog Hop, Mostly Homemade Mondays, Natural Family Friday, Natural Living Monday, Natural Living Link Up, Old Fashioned Friday, Real Food Friday, Real Food Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Thank Your Body Thursday, The Homesteaders Hop, Tuned-in Tuesday, Unprocessed Fridays, Wellness Wednesday.


me_lake_raleighLauren Brinkac, founder of DC Healthy Bites, received a dual BS in Biology and Biochemistry from Syracuse University and a MS in Bioinformatics from George Mason University. She is currently a Lead Bioinformatics Analyst conducting bacterial genomics research of infectious disease at The J. Craig Venter Institute. Lauren hopes to use her scientific background and the latest in scientific research to guide others in making informed dietary choices to optimize their own personalized health. Click here to read Lauren’s Story.

15 Responses to Take it with A Grain of Salt

  1. We also use Real Salt, before we switched I would never add salt to my food. Now that I know the benefits of Real Salt, I happily add it to my all my recipes. Followed you here from the Living Natural link up, would love for you to share on Real Food Fridays.
    http://yourlife7.blogspot.com/2013/12/real-food-fridays-17-link-up.html

    • Joyce, when I ate processed food I never added salt to my food either. Once I turned to REAL food lifestyle I add REAL salt without worrying and it tastes absolutely great! Thank you for commenting and I’ll check out Real Food Fridays! Have a great weekend!

  2. Thanks for this informative post! I’ve always wondered what the difference was between all the salts available on the market. I’ll be featuring you post on this week’s Let’s Get Real. Thanks for linking up!

  3. Pingback: Let's Get Real #19 - 365ish Days of Pinterest | 365ish Days of Pinterest

  4. Pingback: Unprocessed Fridays #29 | Girl Meets Nourishment | Girl Meets Nourishment

  5. Wow!! This post is really great.
    Until I properly educated myself on why our bodies NEED salt, I avoided it like the plague. Now I enjoy using sea salt when my body craves it.
    I still can’t convince some family members to switch over to sea salt… they used the processed, Iodized kind. Perhaps I can show them this and they will change their mind!

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