Salt can be a controversial subject for those who are taking care of their health. It gets a bad rap most of the time. Doctors tell us to avoid it, and some of us listen. However, what those doctors fail to tell us is that there is a big difference between regular old table salt and sea salt!
But before looking more closely at salt, it’s important to understand why salt is necessary. Salt provides sodium, which is necessary for life. It helps with muscle contraction and expansion, nerve stimulation, the proper functioning of the adrenals, and other biological processes, as well. Salt also provides chloride, which helps produce acids necessary to digest protein and enzymes for carbohydrate digestion, and is necessary for proper brain functioning and growth. Salt also contains magnesium, which is important for producing enzymes, nerve transmission, bone formation, forming tooth enamel, and resistance to heart disease, and it also contains many other trace minerals. Babies and children are in special need of salt for their developing brains. Excessive salt can surely cause health problems, but it’s important to realize that we need some salt in our diets. Some people need more than others; some need less, but we all need it.
So what’s the difference between regular table salt and sea salt? For starters, table salt is highly refined. It goes through a process that removes the magnesium and trace minerals. In order to keep the salt dried out, various additives are included, such as aluminum compounds. The natural iodine is also destroyed during the refining process, so it is usually added back in the form of potassium iodide. Dextrose is added as a stabilizer, which affects the color, and so a bleaching agent is used to finish it off.
In contrast, a good quality sea salt is sun dried. It will still contain small amounts of sea life, which provides natural iodine. It will be gray in color and even slightly moist. This means there is a large mineral content. I really like Celtic sea salt. Red sea salt from the shores of Hawaii is another great option. I have using this natural night cream which hydrates my skin when consuming a lot of salt! I find it helps with maintaining that plush and silky skin look!
Sea salt has a much stronger flavor than table salt, so you don’t need to use as much. The kind I use is pretty coarse, so I put it in a salt grinder. This is not the same as a pepper grinder – a pepper grinder has steel blades for hard peppercorns, while a salt grinder has ceramic blades that resist salt’s naturally corrosive properties. I dry the salt out very gently in my toaster oven on low before putting it in the salt grinder, so that it will pass easily through the blades.
Have you discovered the beauty of sea salt? Do you have other things to add about the importance of salt? Have you experienced any health benefits after switching to sea salt? I’d love to hear your stories!