Salt is one of those suspect food ingredients, relegated by most health conscious foodies as unnecessary and ultimately ‘unhealthy’. But even while superfood evangelists are screaming “get away from that shaker” we can’t forget that salt has an important role to play in the body.It keeps our electrolyte balance under control, assists our body in absorbing food, is a natural antihistamine and stabilizes blood sugar. Little wonder then, that traditional cultures used proper sea salt liberally in their cuisine.
Like most food now days, we need to respect the quality of the source before we can judge its nutritional value.
Refined white salt, that necessary evil perching on most dinner tables has been stripped of its trace minerals; having been refined and bleached (nothing like a good peroxide treatment on your food) to leave sodium chloride only.
Often, to make the salt pourable and easy to use, anti-caking agents are added that are invariably aluminum based, adding to our heavy metal toxic load. The final added ingredient is sodium acetate, which has been associated with increased blood pressure and water retention. Not to point fingers but this is the compound that sends people frantically removing salt from their diet.
Sodium chloride is everywhere in packaged foods, so once again, try to eat fresh so you can control the amount of refined salt you are consuming.
For those keen to add taste into their food, ergo pretty much everyone, start to look for sea salt that has been air dried. Air drying ensures the minerals are all still relatively intact.
If you are confused, just have a look at the colour, the salt should be slightly gray or even pink in colour.
I personally buy Celtic Sea Salt or unprocessed New Zealand Sea Salt and add it to my food after cooking for an additional mineral boost. Otherwise, a pinch of the stuff in some lemon water is a great way to get a mineral boost while you work out, and is essentially what those expensive sports drinks are, sans the artificial colours and flavours.
That being said – if you are noshing on too many processed foods in the first place, these are filled to the brim with sodium chloride. So subtract these before you add – otherwise you will be getting salt overload and anything in excess is never a good thing. .