NOT ALL salt is created equally and NOT ALL salt is bad for you. Let me explain. Basically there are two types of salt:
1. Processed or refined salt, otherwise known as table salt or sodium chloride. This
is the bad stuff.
2. Natural or Unrefined Salt. This is the beneficial kind.
What is the difference between Refined Salt and Unrefined Salt?
Table salt is 97.5% sodium chloride and 2.5 chemicals including “added iodine”, aluminum and moisture absorbents. Table salt is dried at over 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, which negatively alters its natural chemical structure (which is very bad) and removes the beneficial trace minerals. The human body does not respond kindly to this. For every extra gram of sodium chloride that your body has to neutralize, it uses up 23 grams of cellular water. This can lead to fluid imbalances, cellulite, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, kidney stones, gallstones and hypertension. Not to mention the other 2.5 percent of processed salt is often poisonous chemicals like aluminum hydroxide, which has been linked to Alzheimer’s Disease. Table salt does contain added iodine (which gives rise to the name iodized salt). This was added to help eliminate the incidence of endemic goiter (enlarged thyroid). If you are eating a healthy balanced diet, you should have no problem getting enough iodine in your diet so you should not need to rely on iodized salt.
Natural salt is 84 percent sodium chloride and 16 percent naturally occurring minerals. These are minerals that the body requires for optional function. While I agree that staying clear of table salt, like other processed foods, may help decrease your risk or stroke, that is not the case with natural salt. Natural salt also plays a vital role in:
1. Removing excess acidity from bodily cells
2. Balancing blood sugar levels
3. Carrying nutrients in and out of cells
4. Regulating blood pressure
5. Absorption of food through the intestines
6. Regulating brain function through nerve impulse
Like everything else, too much of a good thing can hurt you so you still need to watch your salt intake, even if it’s the beneficial kind. The American Heart Association suggests limiting your sodium consumption to fewer than 1,500 mg per day, however this usually applies to the processed salt. Some studies show that Americans are consuming more than 7000 mg per day therefore it makes sense to use the natural salt as opposed to refined table salt.
So what is the best Natural Salt?
My favorite is Himalayan Crystal Salt (available at Trader Joe's). It is formed by evaporation of an ocean or sea that once occupied a region of the Himalayas and it is completely pure. Himalayan Crystal Salts contain all 84 naturally occurring minerals that your body needs for survival. Also, unlike table salt, this natural salt does not pull excessive amounts of water from our cells, meaning the body will not become dehydrated by consuming it on a normal basis.
Besides Himalayan Salt, other excellent natural salts include Redmond “Real Salt” and Celtic Sea Salt. These are both brands of unrefined salt; technically all salt originates from the sea so any type of unrefined sea salt is beneficial. It also makes sense to cut back on processed foods, which are usually laced with large amounts of processed salt. Instead buy organic foods that use unrefined sea salt. In addition, prepare most of your food at home from fresh using natural salt. Minimize eating out as many restaurants (especially fast food) use table salt.