Salt is yet another substance we have been conditioned to fear, a little like cholesterol and sunlight. We need salt, however not all salts are equal.
The role of salt is to bind water and maintain intracellular and extracellular fluids in the right balance.
Salt is critical for nerve transmission, muscular contraction, and is a strong natural antihistamine. Among other things salt clears up catarrh and congestion in the sinuses, makes bones firm, regulates sleep, can prevent varicose veins and spider veins on the legs and thighs and supplies the body with over 80 essential mineral elements.
The vast majority of salt consumed is highly refined, pearly white, table salt. So let’s look at the difference between refined and unrefined salt.
- Obtained by simply letting the sun evaporate the water, this naturally preserves all the ingredients.
- Contains more than 80 substances that we need to maintain electrolyte balance in our bodies
- Treated with chemicals such as chlorine, sulphuric acid and caustic soda, which is used to remove potassium.
- Water is evaporated using very high temperatures. This process changes the molecular structure of the salt. Following this process only the sodium and chloride is left.
- Manufactures add an anticaking agent such as aluminium salicylate, so that the salt doesn’t clump and will pour easily. Also added is bleach so the salt looks pearly white, making it more attractive to consumers.
- This process produces a product that increases the acidity in the body which leads to decreased immunity.
- Increased blood pressure is another well-known side effect; this is due to the lack of potassium and higher saturation of sodium (around 40%).
So which salts should you choose?
Unrefined salts are sea salts, which should be grey in colour, and rock salts. There is now however, some concerns around sea salt due to the pollutants in our beautiful oceans. For this reason I tend to buy Himalayan pink rock salt which is readily available.
General guidelines for quantity seem to be around 1 tsp per day. Current consumption, for the majority, is much higher due to the addition of refined salt in processed foods.
I start my day with an 8th of a teaspoon of pink salt followed by about 600mls of water. The salt assures that I absorb the water, rather than it just passing straight through. The addition of a pinch of salt, followed by drinking water, generates alkaline properties and provides you with important minerals and trace elements.