“The cure for anything is saltwater – sweat, tears or the sea” – Isak Dinesen
Fall is generally categorized by the transformation that occurs around us. The leaves fall from trees, the weather cools, the night comes earlier, we celebrate the harvest, we all prepare for hibernation. But for me, this particular autumn is a season of newness. The birth of new opportunities is more like spring and it’s sprouts, awakening, and first steps.
I consider the first steps we can make toward good health. Most often, the simplest shifts in our daily habits can make a big impact. Some people switch the sweetener they use in their morning coffee, others upgrade their cooking oil. I’d like to focus on the most compelling flavor of all – salt.
You may assume I’m going to tell you to reduce your salt intake. I’m not.
Our bodies are filled with salt – our blood, sweat, tears, and even our urine – it’s all salty. In fact, salt is so vital to our health that without it, we would literally die of thirst. As an essential nutrient (meaning our bodies cannot manufacture it on their own), salt is necessary for:
- muscle function
- taste sensation
- proper functioning of the brain and nervous system
- important digestive functions.
The Truth About Table Salt
The salt that you find in table salt and most processed foods is sodium chloride. Like our sugar, flour and vegetable oils – this salt is highly refined; the product of a chemical and high-temperature industrial process that removes all the valuable magnesium salts as well as trace minerals naturally occurring in the sea. To keep salt from clumping, salt refiners add several additives, including aluminum compounds. To replace the natural iodine salts that are removed during processing, potassium iodide is added. To stabilize the iodide compound, processors add dextrose, which turns the iodized salt a purplish color. A bleaching agent is then necessary to restore whiteness to the salt. Even products called “sea salt” are processed like this.
It’s important to replenish the salt in our body, and using the right salt is what makes all the difference in the world. The best salt is sun-dried sea salt containing traces of marine life that provide organic forms of iodine. This salt is extracted by the action of the sun on seawater. Its light grey color indicates a high moisture and trace mineral content. This natural salt contains only about 82 percent sodium chloride; it contains 14 percent macro-minerals, particularly magnesium, and nearly 80 trace minerals. Red sea salt from Hawaii is also an excellent product, but is not easily found in the continental United States.
Considered in ancient times a “gift of the gods,” salt isn’t necessarily the killer it’s made out to be. Yes, too much processed table salt consumed in unbalanced meals can be harmful, but flavoring homemade meals with real salt is essential for health and happiness.
- Toss your table salt
- Get rid of frozen or packaged foods with high sodium content. They’re not filled with real salt.
- Stock your kitchen with real sea salt
- You may need to replace your saltshaker – real salt can stick and may not shake out as nicely as you are used to. I prefer to use an old-fashioned salt box like the ones at Totally Bamboo
My favorite sources
“Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” Colossians 4:6