About Salt - Conscious Cooking

About Salt

Salt has always been an essential part of life on Earth. Not only it’s a natural food enhancer and preservative but it’s also essential for human life. This mineral is in our tears, our sweat, our blood – it’s necessary for the body to function. It supports a host of hormonal, chemical and electrical processes in the body, and its trace minerals are especially important for the health of the heart, brain, and adrenals. Salt is a major component of the body’s fluids. Without it, our nervous system could not function. In fact, without it, we could not survive.

Salt is essential to life but needs to be consumed in moderation. It comes from natural sources like fruits, vegetables, and seaweed, along with unrefined natural salt. Even though all salt is sodium and chloride, it’s not all created equal. The processing methods alter its taste, color, texture, nutritional value, energy, and effects on the body. This is why you want to choose unrefined, natural salt rather than processed, commercial table salt.

Refined vs Natural

The commercial one is 97.5 percent sodium chloride and 2.5 percent man-made chemicals. It’s highly refined, chemically produced, bleached, and devoid of nutrients. This product is heated at a very high temperature (1200°F), which alters the natural structure of salt and removes all trace minerals, leaving only sodium and chloride. It contains ingredients, such as anti-caking agents, iodine, and other additives. Table salt also contains aluminum, which is known to lead to neurological disorders, particularly when no selenium is provided to help the body to bind it. This chemically produced product can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure and heart and kidney disease, as well as fluid retention. It should indeed be avoided.

Unrefined, natural salt, on the other hand, is very different. It’s 84 percent sodium chloride and 16 percent naturally occurring trace minerals. Those trace minerals support the brain and nervous system as well as adrenal, immune system, and thyroid function. Natural salt is the most important component in alkalizing the blood and tissues. It’s a natural antihistamine, helps the body eliminate toxins, and removes excess acidity from the brain cells. It supports bone density and circulatory health and balances sodium-potassium ratios. It also assist digestion by helping the body to digest and absorb nutrients and by balancing blood sugar levels.

For infants

If you are concerned about serving salt to your infant, it’s important to know that babies only need very small amounts (less than 0.4 grams) in their diets and that need is generally met through breast milk or formula. A few grains of high-quality, unrefined salt here and there in their food will not do any harm and can be very beneficial. However, because it’s a very controversial subject, you may want to stay on the safer side and wait a few more months before adding this mineral to your baby’s diet. With that being said, I recommend never use table salt and stay away from processed and refined foods.

What to buy?

As salt is an ingredient added to almost every meal, it would be wise to invest in a high-quality one, such as Himalayan, Celtic or Real Salt. Keep the fine, coarse salt for finishing dishes and use sea salt to add to boiling water, such as for poaching meat of making pasta. Avoid or limit consumption of processed or refined foods and try to cook more at home instead of eating out. That way, you can control the quality and amount of the ingredients used. Remember, however, that even though the unrefined natural one is considered a healthy alternative, it should still be used in moderation.

“Considered the fifth universal element, pure ocean salt is our physical and spiritual salvation. Containing a wealth of vital minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, and iodine, it nurtures our digestion and our thoughts. It draws toxins and stress out of the body while relaxing the mind and is one of the most powerful mineral elements bringing balance to our lives.”
— Serena Dougall

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