Believe it or not, salt (or sodium) is one of the minerals that is most important for optimal function of the human body. But many people have been lead to believe that salt is bad for you, and that they should avoid all salt. However, while there is some truth to this, it’s not all true.
Let’s take a deeper look…
Is Salt Bad for You?
Sodium is one of the seven macro-minerals. These seven macro-minerals make up 99% of the minerals used in the human body! They are magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium, phosphorus, sulfur and chloride. This alone tells us the vital importance of sodium!
But I’m not talking about the kind of sodium your doctors tell you to stay away from. I’m talking about natural, organic sodium. This kind of sodium is a mineral, which comes from the soil (as well as salt deposits). It is found in natural, organically grown produce.
Before I tell you about the beneficial forms of sodium (and salt), I first want to fill you in on why these store bought, processed salts are detrimental to our health.
What is Iodized Table Salt?
It was back in the 1920’s that salt first became “iodized.” This means very simply that food companies began adding the trace mineral iodine to salt. They originally started doing this because there was a very high incidence of iodine deficiency disorders, and especially goiter. Goiter is a condition caused by a malfunctioning thyroid gland and iodine is the primary nutrient or “fuel” used by the thyroid gland.
When iodine was added to salt, there was a huge improvement in the number of disorders caused by an iodine deficiency. The large number of goiter incidences began to drop and iodized salt became the standard!
Why is iodized salt so bad if iodine is a necessary trace mineral?
Unfortunately, the iodized table salt we buy at the store, use at a restaurant and that comes in processed foods is not a natural form of salt. In the 1920’s, standard cooking salt came from the sea or other natural salt deposits. However, since that time, the manufacturing of salt has changed. Companies have come up with more cost effective ways to harvest salt and no longer depend on getting salt from its natural sources.
Iodized table salt (cooking salt) used today has many synthetic chemicals added to it. These chemicals include manufactured forms of iodine, sodium solo-co-aluminate, fluoride sodium bicarbonate, anti-caking agents, aluminum derivatives and toxic amounts of potassium iodide. In addition, iodized table salt is also bleached to make it white.
When purchasing salt at the store, be sure to stay away from any product that claims to be iodized. You know it’s processed if it’s iodized! In addition, stay away from any form of salt that is white. Natural, organic salt found in nature is never a pure white color.
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Benefits of Sodium (the Mineral)
Iodized table salt is not a healthy form of sodium/salt. However, there is a healthy choice – organic sodium, which comes from natural food sources (primarily vegetables). As we know, sodium is a mineral, which comes from the soil and is found in natural, organically grown produce.
Below are several great food sources of natural, organic sodium:
- Beet greens
- Sweet potatoes
Of course, we know that our soil and food supply is extremely depleted of necessary minerals, and therefore, we often need to supplement with minerals and other nutrients. The good news here is that you can purchase a pure, unprocessed and unbleached form of salt to sprinkle on your food.
One of the purest forms of salt you can find is pink Himalayan salt. Pink Himalayan salt comes from salt mines 5,000 feet below the Himalayan Mountain Range. While common table salt is incredibly processed, lacking in minerals, bleached and loaded with chemicals, pink Himalayan salt is believed to be 99% pure!
Himalayan salt is generally pink, but can be white and/or red as well. The unique color of Himalayan salt as well as the color variations is a sign of the large amount of trace minerals and electrolytes found in Himalayan salt. Many Himalayan salt companies claim there are up to 84 different minerals in Himalayan salt – it is known for sure there are at least 60 different trace minerals (minerals that your body needs in small quantities as compared to macro-minerals, which are needed in large quantities) and electrolytes!
In addition to Himalayan salt, there are other natural forms of salt, such as Celtic sea salt. Celtic sea salt comes from Brittany, France, is grayish in color and is also rich in necessary minerals.
So, what are the real benefits of consuming Himalayan or sea salt?
First and foremost, natural Himalayan and sea salt can help to balance the body’s pH level. Because salt is rich in sodium as well as other electrolytes, it has a direct effect on the body’s pH.
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In addition, Himalayan and sea salt are known to be very beneficial for our respiratory system. They loosen up excessive mucus and aid the body in clearing away mucus. These natural salts clear pathogens in the air, such as pollen, and are antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.
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