Salt of the Sea
By Lisa Metzgar, PhD – Nutrition Tidbits
All life depends on salt. Salt whether it is table salt or sea salt is primarily sodium chloride.
Sodium is a life sustaining electrolyte helping conduct electricity along the nervous system. If there is no conductivity, then your brain can not talk to all the different organs in the body. It also regulates body fluids through the kidneys and liver. Chloride will combine with hydrogen to make hydrochloric acid which is used to digest food. As you can see, without salt…we would be in trouble.
Although…you have probably heard that we all need to cut back on salt because it can cause high blood pressure and other health issues. This is not completely accurate. The problem is our diet of processed foods not the salt we sprinkle on our food. Processed foods contains an over abundance of sodium. It is suggested that we should get between 1,500-2,300 milligrams of sodium chloride per day. If you cook with fresh ingredients, stay away from processed foods, and use sea salt as your seasoning, you will gain many health benefits.
Why sea salt? There is a difference between your typical table salt and sea salt. Table salt is mined from the ground and must be processed before we can eat it. The processing strips it of the trace minerals. Sea salt is minimally processed and contains over 100 trace minerals. It doesn’t have as much iodine as table salt (which is added as a nutrient to protect the thyroid) but if you include other foods that contain iodine like potatoes, cranberries, strawberries, and seaweed you will get plenty.
The trace minerals have many health benefits.
Some of the health benefits include:
- Alkalizes the body, especially brain cells
- Helps eliminate muscle cramps
- Regulates blood pressure when drinking plenty of water (at least 64oz. per day)
- Improves sleep and helps with depression by preserving serotonin and melatonin levels
- Regulates water in the body and cells
- Helps sinus problems and other respiratory conditions
- Improves immune function
- Helps regulate blood sugars
- Helps with weight loss by improving passage of food through the colon
- Great for skin issues like psoriasis and eczema when used in a bath
- Enhances flavor of food
There are many different types of sea salt and other natural salts coming in a variety of colors:
- Himalayan Salt (also a great source of iodine)
- Black Sea Salt
- Dead Sea Salts (great for skin)
- Celtic Sea Salt
- Hawaiian Sea Salt
- Miracle Salt
I always say that small changes in your life lead to big results in your health. So replace your table salt with sea salt and pass the shaker!