Salt:

Natural Sea Salt

Salt comes from a natural mineral rock salt deposit deep in the earth. Many thousands of years ago, when the mountains were being formed, there existed a super-saturated body of sea water. It congealed to form a great body of rock salt and captured within crystallization of the salt, many wholesome minerals. For many thousand of years it lay buried until early people began to mine and process it. Most of the early production was for livestock use. The minerals provided value for animal nutrition. Table salt produced by the early people was of excellent quality, but the methods were too costly to compete with salt from large industry. Within recent years, because of the need for a salt that is free from chemical additives and heat processing and because of the recognized value of mineral salt, the marketplace received a great many requests to make it available for human consumption.

Since rock salt is a natural product, the analysis may vary slightly. Below is a summary of analyses taken over the past several years:

So what does being labeled "sea salt" mean? It means it came from the sea! It is no more of an assurance of a natural, wholesome product than it is to say that white refined flour is healthful because it came from a farm. How can you get a "sea salt" that contains all the minerals that were in the sea water, and yet has not been heated, and does not contain added chemicals? There are two ways:

Vital Functions Of Salt In The Body

1. Salt is most effective in stabilizing irregular heartbeats and, Contrary to the misconception that it causes high blood pressure, it is actually essential for the regulation of blood pressure - in conjunction with water. Naturally the proportions are critical.

2. Salt is vital to the extraction of excess acidity from the cells in the body, particularly the brain cells.

3. Salt is vital for balancing the sugar levels in the blood; a needed element in diabetics.

4. Salt is vital for the generation of hydroelectric energy in cells in the body. It is used for local power generation at the sites of energy need by the cells.

5. Salt is vital to the nerve cells' communication and information processing all the time that the brain cells work, from the moment of conception to death.

6. Salt is vital for absorption of food particles through the intestinal tract.

7. Salt is vital for the clearance of the lungs of mucus plugs and sticky phlegm, particularly in asthma and cystic fibrosis.

8. Salt is vital for clearing up catarrh and congestion of the sinuses.

9. Salt is a strong natural antihistamine.

10. Salt is essential for the prevention of muscle cramps.

11. Salt is vital to prevent excess saliva production to the point that it flows out of the mouth during sleep. Needing to constantly mop up excess saliva indicates salt shortage.

12. Salt is absolutely vital to making the structure of bones firm. Osteoporosis, in a major way, is a result of salt and water shortage in the body.

13. Salt is vital for sleep regulation. It is a natural hypnotic.

14. Salt is a vitally needed element in the treatment of diabetics.

15. Salt on the tongue will stop persistent dry coughs.

16. Salt is vital for the prevention of gout and gouty arthritis.

17. Salt is vital for maintaining sexuality and libido.

18. Salt is vital for preventing varicose veins and spider veins on the legs and thighs.

19. Salt is vital to the communication and information processing nerve cells the entire time that the brain cells work - from the moment of conception to death.

20. Salt is vital for reducing a double chin. When the body is short of salt, it means the body really is short of water. The salivary glands sense the salt shortage and are obliged to produce more saliva to lubricate the act of chewing and swallowing and also to supply the stomach with water that it needs for breaking down foods. Circulation to the salivary glands increases and the blood vessels become "leaky" in order to supply the glands with water to manufacture saliva. The "leakiness" spills beyond the area of the glands themselves, causing increased bulk under the skin of the chin, the cheeks and into the neck.

21. Sea salt contains about 80 mineral elements that the body needs. Some of these elements are needed in trace amounts. Unrefined sea salt is a better choice of salt than other types of salt on the market. Ordinary table salt that is bought in the super markets has been stripped of its companion elements and contains additive elements such as aluminum silicate to keep it powdery and porous. Aluminum is a very toxic element in our nervous system. It is implicated as one of the primary causes of Alzheimer's disease.

22. Twenty-seven percent of the body's salt is in the bones. Osteoporosis results when the body needs more salt and takes it from the body. Bones are twenty-two percent water. Is it not obvious what happens to the bones when we're deficient in salt or water or both.

* The information on salt intake is taken from Dr. Batmanghelidj's book, "Water: Rx for a Healthier Pain Free Life".

Table Salt

While most salts start out as salt, they don't always end up that way. Normal table salt begins as a saline solution. Then after processing and kiln drying at temperatures in excess of 400 degrees, its natural state is changed and nearly all trace minerals are lost. Then chemicals are added like Silico Aluminate, Potassium Iodide, Tri-calcium Phosphate, Magnesium Carbonate, Sodium bicarbonate, and yellow prussiate of soda just to name a few. These are added to bleach the salt, prevent caking, and aid in free-flowing so your salt will flow free even on rainy days. But what are they doing to your body?


A Pillar Of Salt
By Jon Barron
Dated 7/3/2006

A couple of issues ago, I made a passing comment about the AMA's recent public statement concerning salt, questioning both the validity of their pronouncement and their qualifications to make such a statement in the first place. What a furor it created!

Since then, I have been interviewed by several newspapers, magazines, and appeared on radio talk shows -- all to talk about salt. Who knew it was such a big deal? But since it is, it seems worthwhile to revisit the subject again in more detail.

The primary issue that got lost by the AMA is that not all sources of sodium and salt are the same. As far as the body is concerned, there is no connection between the chemically-cleansed sodium chloride table salt you buy in the supermarket (which is also added to virtually every processed food you buy) and the mineral rich organic unrefined sea salt available in health food stores. One can kill you; the other heals you. In fact, it's essential for life.

Of course, everyone can agree that just like anything else, salt or sodium should not be consumed in excess. (But then again, that's true of water and oxygen as well.) Which brings us back to why the AMA came out with a warning at all: Americans are consuming ever higher amounts of sodium, up to 6,000 milligrams a day, instead of the recommended 500 to 2,000 milligrams per day. These high amounts, in a form that is unfriendly to the human body and with no ancillary trace mineral benefits, are what lead to serious health problems. However, this is not necessarily the heart of the debate. The issue is that the AMA is against all forms of salt, a broad-brush condemnation designed more for media sound bites than to truly advance the cause of health.

This is a point echoed in a U.S. Food and Drug Administration article "A Pinch of Controversy Shakes Up Dietary Salt":

"Now modern technology has made salt readily available and at a price almost anyone can afford. As a result, many of us take salt and its merits for granted. But scientists keep salt in the news by debating its role in a healthful diet. At times, discussion and controversy threaten to obscure salt's importance and to confuse thoughtful consumers."

So let's examine the true nature of salt to gain an understanding of how different types of salt act in our bodies. And let's also examine some real health issues connected with salt; and finally, let's talk about how to choose and balance salt in your diet.

Brief History Of Humans And Salt

"Worth its weight in gold" is an expression that served well for salt in ancient times. The history of salt is sprinkled with piracy, war, economics, religion, and health. In fact, the next time you contemplate your current salary, consider that the very word "salary" is derived from the Latin word sal because Romans often received their pay in salt. If this is hard to accept, consider that during the Age of Discovery, Africans and European explorers traded an ounce of salt for an ounce of gold -- even-steven. Around 110 BC, salt trade was so valued that salt piracy was punishable by death. And Mahatma Gandhi even used salt as major leverage against the British Empire in 1930 when he led thousands of people to the sea to collect their own salt in order to avoid the salt tax imposed by the British.

The Importance Of Salt

One point everyone can agree on is that the body needs sodium chloride to function.

If we look at the big picture for a moment, we can recognize that:

Salt VS Sodium

Although the words salt and sodium are often used interchangeably when it comes to nutrition, they are not the same. Salt is sodium chloride (NaCl) and Sodium (Na) is, well, just sodium -- a soft metal occurring in isolation only on the periodic table of elements or in a lab.

While it is correct to say that our bodies need sodium, nature has not designed sodium as a solo player but offers it in a complex consisting of natural salt and essential trace minerals, as well as providing it in a variety of foods. Some foods naturally high in sodium/salt are fish, eggs, nuts, prawns, crabs, lobsters and seaweed (Note: all of these natural sources of salt are also natural sources of iodine.) Other naturally occurring sources of sodium (although not quite as high) are celery, carrots, cauliflower, pineapples, jackfruits, and even fresh cow's milk. And then, of course, there is pure, natural unrefined salt -- the salt once worth it's weight in gold and the focus of this newsletter.

So, with all these great natural sources of sodium, why do we have refined table salt?

Good question.

A Modern Misconception About Salt

Much like the story of refined flour it seems to come down to aesthetics and economics.

As A Point Of Comparison, Here's The Story Of White Flour

Salt and flour have suffered the same fate. The process of turning naturally occurring non-white salt into the white-powdery-easily poured table salt involves a distinct trade-off between health and aesthetics/profitability.

And there's one other financial reason for the dominance of refined salt in the market. Only 7% of salt goes for food; the other 93% goes to industry. Industry requires chemically pure sodium chloride for manufacture of explosives, chlorine gas, soda, fertilizers and plastics. In effect, table salt represents a "cheap" production overrun.

Two Salts

In today's market, we now have two distinct choices when it comes to salt: unrefined and refined. Unrefined salt (sea salt) is 97.5% sodium chloride (with up to 14% of that being moisture content in some brands) and 2.5% consisting of some 50+ other trace minerals. Refined salt is also 97.5% sodium chloride, but the other 2.5% no longer consists of trace minerals, but rather, chemical additives.

Unrefined salt is at heart sea salt, but can come from two sources: either freshly dried from the sea, as in Celtic Sea Salt, or mined from ancient inland ocean beds as in the Himalayan Salt and RealSalt brands. In either case, the salt is a naturally occurring complex of sodium chloride, major minerals such as calcium and magnesium, and a complete complement of essential trace minerals. This is the form of salt the body recognizes and is designed to use. (Note: a case can be made that mined salt is actually purer than fresh ocean water salt since the inland beds, unlike ocean water, have been sealed off from all pollution -- particularly manmade -- for millions of years.)

Note: much of the salt labeled "sea salt" is actually refined table salt unless the package is clearly labeled "unrefined." (This is also true for Kosher salt!)

Refined salt, on the other hand, is a manmade creation of the last century that contains anti-caking chemicals (with very important health consequences as we shall see in a minute) and added iodine. Iodine was added for people who lived inland and at one time did not benefit from natural iodine found in seafood. Truth be told, all refined table salt is actually sea salt at heart, either refined from the sea (brine sourced) or found in salt mines created by ancient seabed deposits known as halite. Refined salt is processed at high temperatures altering the molecular structure of the salt (not good) and removing the beneficial trace minerals. The human body doesn't like it.

Refined and unrefined salt act and react differently in our bodies.

Fundamental Differences Of Unrefined Sea Salt

Here Is A Partial List Of The Minerals Found In Unrefined Salt And Their Function In Human Metabolism:

Refined Table Salt

The Problem Of Excess Salt In The Diet

Salt And Water

Hypertension

Conclusion:

Choosing And Balancing Salt In Your Diet

Unfortunately, you can't rely on fruits and vegetables any more for your trace minerals: they just don't contain them. Even organic fruits and vegetables are largely deficient, unless the grower goes to the extra expense of remineralizing the soil. In the end, you have to supplement either with unrefined sea salt or with a trace mineral supplement. Of course, we can all agree on one thing: a healthy diet is a diet in moderation.

Unfortunately, refined salt addiction is perhaps as prevalent and subtly dangerous in modern society as drug addiction, poor diet, and a sedentary lifestyle. Excess refined salt increases appetite and decreases bone density, Hmmm!

The bottom line is unrefined natural sea salt is as essential to life as oxygen, water, vitamins, proteins and essential fats -- in conscious moderation of course. The health benefits of unrefined salt must not be overlooked based on an overgeneralization in salt guidelines.

In that light, I recommend:


Salt Information: Health Freedom Alliance 5/10/2011 - Deaths Four Times Higher With Low Salt Intake

Salt Information: Salt Deficiency

Salt Information: Himalayan Cristal Salt Vs Table Salt

Salt Information: Sodium Chloride Photo's

Salt Information: Dr. William Campbell Douglass II 12/6/2002 - Hypertension Part I

Salt Information: Dr. William Campbell Douglass II 12/10/2002 - Hypertension Part II

Salt Information: Dr. William Campbell Douglass II 7/11/2006 - Sodium

Salt Information: Natural News 7/16/2010 - Choose Unrefined Sea Salt Over Table Salt

Salt Information: Natural News 11/7/2010 - Your Salt May Be Killing You

Salt Information: Natural News 5/24/2011 - Salt And Sodium - Question The Concerns Of The Medical Establishment

Salt Information: Natural News 9/28/2011 - Ten Reasons Why You Should Use Pure Unrefined Sea Salt

Salt Information: Natural News 1/8/2012 - Salt - Friend Or Foe?

Salt Information: Natural News 12/14/2012 - Why Himalayan Salt Is The Perfect Storable Barter Item

Salt Information: Natural News 1/10/2013 - The Fascinating Varieties Of Salt And How To Use Them

Salt Information: Dr. Mercola - Hidden Poisons

Salt Information: Dr. Mercola 3/16/2005 - Legal Complaint

Salt Information: Dr. Mercola 7/7/2005 - Asthma

Salt Information: Dr. Mercola 3/31/2009 - Is Salt Nature's Antidepressant?

Salt Information: Dr. Mercola 9/20/2009 - Add This Seasoning to Your Food Daily - Despite What Your Doctor Says

Salt Information: Dr. Mercola 2/17/2012 - Sea Salt Could Actually Spare You A Heart Attack

Salt Information: Dr. Mercola 3/5/2012 - The Guilty Pleasure That Could Save You From Heart Disease

Salt Information: Dr. Mercola 4/4/2013 - Why High Salt Consumption Alone Will Not Increase Your Heart Disease Risk


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