18 March 2011

Is Salt Good or Bad For You?

Salt is not just good for you, it is a basic and necessary nutrient needed for the healthy functioning of our bodies. 

However, as is the case for many other foods, the amount of processing that the common salt undergoes before it reaches our tables is unfortunately enough not only to strip it down of the great majority of its nutrients (more than 80 minerals apart from sodium and chloride), but also to change radically its structure to the point that, instead of being beneficial it actually becomes a damaging substance.


The human body is made of about 70% water and 0.9% salt. This is also the same concentration of salt that makes up the amniotic fluid in which the baby grows during the nine months of pregnancy.

The wonderful way in which salt interacts with water is a true synergy (when two or more components produce an effect which is greater than the sum of their individual effects) and it is what makes salt so important for our body.

Salt crystals have a unique characteristic that distinguish them from other crystals: the sodium (Na) ions are positively charged, while the chloride (Cl) ions are negatively charged. The main structure in salt crystals is therefore not molecular but electrical. When salt crystals come in contact with water, the water molecules – made of one negative oxygen atom and two positive hydrogen atoms – surround each sodium and chloride ion, separating them from the compound and making therefore the salt dissolve in water. When the water evaporates the sodium and chloride ions are able to get together again and becoming, once again, salt crystals.

For our body to stay healthy it is fundamental to have a constant balance of the water inside and outside the cells, and salt provides this balance through the process of osmosis.

Also, each and every cell in our body absorbs nutrients and energy from the salt carried through the body by water.

Table Salt magnified
Unfortunately the “table salt” that we know and use every day has undergone a great amount of processing, filtering and bleaching to eliminate each and every trace of the 84 minerals which are normally found in sea salt and rock salt. After all this processing the product that reaches our tables is no longer “salt” but it is reduced to no more than just sodium and chloride (NaCl). 

The problem is that sodium and chloride, in order to be available to our body, need other minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium and zinc, just to name a few. Since the common table salt is only made of sodium and chloride, our body has to provide all the other minerals needed, sourcing them from the cells.


Therefore, when we consume regular table salt (as different from sea salt and rock salt), instead of giving our body the fundamental nutrients needed by the cells to work and keep us healthy, we are actually introducing in our system a substance which robs the cells of precious minerals and energy. Our body reacts to this attack with a domino effect of physiological responses like high blood pressure, cellulite, fluid retention, heart enlargement and osteoporosis (due to the extraction of calcium from the bones in order to process the sodium chloride). An excess of sodium chloride in our body also causes airway restriction and consequently increases the number of attacks in asthma sufferers.

Sodium is also used by the food industry as a preservative. Pick up any jar from your pantry, even jam, and you will find that it contains some amount of sodium, which, at the end of the day, increases by many times our total amount of sodium and chloride intake, creating an increasing burden on our body.

Therefore the main reason why we are told to severely lower our intake of salt, especially if we suffer from hypertension, is because the common table salt truly poses a big threat to our system.

Rock Salt magnified
However what we are rarely told is that unrefined sea salt and rock salt are actually fundamental and beneficial to our health.

One of the purest form of salt is the crystal salt from mines on the Himalaya. Deposited there million of years ago, the Himalayan salt comes to us from a time when oceans were still pristine, unpolluted and full of vital energy.

Dr. Barbara Hendel, co-author with Peter Ferreira of the book “Water & Salt. The Essence of Life”, has conducted many years of clinical studies on the beneficial effects of using Himalayan salt and found that regular intake of this salt brings blood pressure back to normal – lowering it if it is too high and actually increasing it when it is too low. It also raises the pH of our body towards a more alkaline level (protecting us from cancer and diabetes) and it heals diseases like arthritis, gout, skin disorders and asthma.

Therefore, going back to the question in the title of this article, unrefined sea salt and rock salt are fundamental and extremely beneficial to our health. We need these minerals as a daily intake, together with plenty of water, to keep our system balanced, strong and healthy. Sodium chloride on the other hand is not more than a mere ghost compared to the rich and vital salt that it was sourced from, and as such is a dangerous and unhealthy addition to our diet.




4 comments:

  1. We ONLY use Himalayan rock solt and Celtic sea salt :D

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  2. That's fantastic Julie, us too!! Which brand of Himalayan salt do you buy and how much you pay for it? The only trustworthy brand I can find here (and on the net) costs about $30 a kilo...

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  3. A friend and I bought a very large amount of salt products (lamps, salt licks, bath salts and table salts) from a company in Toronto, called the Gamma Salt Cristal Ltd. Their website is http://naturalsaltcrystallamps.com/

    They have a wholesale order section, if your order is over a certain amount, and we ended up paying only $90 for 4.5 kilos, which was fabulous. Actually, it was less, because we made arrangements to have it picked up, so delivery was taken off, too!

    http://www.himalayansalt.com/wholesale-salt-orders.php

    The company seems to have quality product from what we read on their website. Not sure if they ship to Australia, but you might want to try! Hope you enjoy the moon this weekend :D

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  4. Hi Julie! Thanks I finally found a fantastic company right here in Australia (http://www.biodistributors.com.au/index.php) which sells the Himalayan salt as well as a whole lot of organic products and they are really great!

    Unfortunately we didn't see much of the moon during the weekend as it has been pouring rain like anything...However we now have a lot more green tree frogs hopping around the backyard and they are absolutely gorgeous!!
    Have a great week ahead!

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