Friday, May 22, 2009

Nutrition Notes: Sea Salt


Confusion abounds concerning salt and the different varieties. Table salt, which is highly processed and stripped of essential minerals, is a far cry from its natural state. Standard table salt is highly refined and chemically treated with aluminosilicate of sodium or yellow prussiate of soda as well as various bleach compounds. Chemical additives such as calcium phosphate and magnesium carbonate are also sometimes blended in to prevent clumping. Thes processes create a substance which the human body cannot properly assimilate, thus causing problems with edema and inflamation. Table salt is almost pure sodium chloride along with chemical additives, only containing two trace minerals. This type of salt has been said to cause stroke, high blood pressure, heart attack, kidney disease, and heart failure.


In comparison, natural, unrefined salt is made from either evaporated sea water such as Celtic Sea Salt or, as in the case of Himalayan & Redmond salt, mined from ancient ocean beds. Celtic Sea Salt is harvested off the pristine coast of Brittany, France and contains several trace minerals. Himalayan Salt contains 94 trace elements and is mined from the protected mountains of the Himalaya. Redmond Salt contains over 50 trace minerals and is found in ancient salt deposits deep within the earth in Utah.

Sea salt helps to balance blood sugar levels, maintain healthy energy levels, and supports proper brain cell function. In addition, this natural salt encourages a strong immune system and resistance to disease as well as helping to regulate sleep and relieve allergies through a natural antihistamine action.

In cooking circles, good quality salt is a must. Each natural sea salt has its own color, flavor & character suited to a variety of cooking styles. Celtic, Himalayan, & Redmond salt all have a range of mild sweetness, quite different from the harsh, pronounced flavor of standard table salt. Please note: it is recommended to use natural & unrefined salt at the end of cooking to ensure the delicate flavor & nutrient profile remains intact.

A few resources for further information:

Water & Salt, The Essence of Life
Barbara Hendel, MD and Peter Ferreira

Hunger for Salt
Derek A. Denton

Sea Salt's Hidden Powers
Jacques De Langre






2 comments:

  1. Appreciated the wonderful article. Any experience with black salt? Curious as to what you think.

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  2. Hi Kat.

    Great to hear from you.

    Black salt is quite mineral rich (especially iron) and highly recommended. Just make sure it is a natural variety and not synthetically produced. There are so many types of artisan salt to choose from these days and each one has its own distinct flavor. Here is a nice little blurb about the different kinds of black salt: http://happyherbivore.com/2012/02/types-black-salt/

    Let me know if you play around with different types -- I would love to know what you find.

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