Salt – is it good or bad?
Our bodies need salt – without it the heart, muscles and brain cannot function. Some fresh food contains traces of salt, like certain vegetables.
Salt has got an unfairly bad reputation, unrefined salt that is. Refined table salt deserves every bit of criticism it is getting.
Refined table salt – whether marine or not – is toxic. All the minerals have been removed from this type of salt and it has then been bleached (to become white and pretty) and exposed to many toxic chemicals.
The producers of table salt add anti-clumping (anti-caking) agents to the salt to prolong its shelf-life.
Refined table salt – which is pure sodium chloride - is the same kind of salt used by industries that manufacture explosives, chlorine gas, baking soda, fertilisers and plastics.
The problem with salt is that we are not always aware of how much we eat of it.
Unless you cook everything from scratch you will be
eating salt which has been added to ready-made food products. And you can bet your
bottom dollar that the salt used in these products is for the most part cheap,
toxic table salt.
Unrefined, natural salt on the other hand – whether mined from the sea or the earth (rock salt) - contains large amount of minerals that are really good for us. As long as you don’t overdo it, adding some unrefined natural sea or rock salt to your food can be a good thing.
Instead of being pure white, unrefined salt gets its colour from the minerals within. It can be slightly greyish in colour or pink, as is the Himalayan pink crystal salt which is mined 500 feet deep below the Himalayan Mountains.
There are cheaper varieties of Himalayan salt, salt that is being collected much higher up near the tops of the Himalayan Mountains. These cheaper varieties have more impurities and are not as good for you.
I use both unrefined sea salt and Himalayan pink crystal salt. I find though, that I need to use less salt with the Himalayan crystal salt and I have heard other people saying the same thing.
There are some people who claim that we should give up salt altogether, that we can get enough salt from a varied, natural diet full of fresh food. And they always say that if you use more herbs and spices instead, you won’t know the difference.
I don’t agree. I do add a lot of herbs and spices to the food I cook and I think that you need to add a bit of salt to bring out the flavours of everything you cook with.
And as long as you stick to unrefined natural sea or rock salt, and avoid ready-made product as much as possible, I think that a pinch of salt is good for you!
Some of the information above comes from an article written by Pat Thomas in the Ecologist.