I’m sure that, like me, you have memories of your parents or even grandparents telling you to go easy on the salt, that it’s not good for you, that it will harden your arteries. It turns out they were only partially right. The stuff that causes the bucket-load of issues your nearest and dearest warned you about is table salt, which is a highly processed and refined version of salt that actually robs your body of nutrients (filthy thief!). It is completely stripped of minerals except for chlorine(!) and sodium. It then has anti-caking agents, like aluminium, added to it. Nasty business, for sure!
Before you rush to throw out all of your salt I’m here to tell you that not all salts are created equal and that, if you choose the right ones, your body will thank you. If you swap table salt for a high quality sea salt that has all of its 84 minerals still intact you can enjoy salt in the knowledge it is doing you good. A word of warning though: the term ‘sea salt’ has been hijacked by the marketing arm of some companies. Pretty much all salt comes from the sea, which means that, unless you know what you are looking for, the words ‘sea salt’ won’t necessarily lead you in the right direction.
An easy way to tell if your salt is one of the good ones is to check the colour – true sea salt has a slightly sandy colour because of its high mineral content. If it is pure white then there is a good chance it has been processed and bleached.
True sea salt has myriad benefits including keeping your joints limber, stopping muscle spasms and helping to ensure the body has enough minerals so that it doesn’t have to draw from your bones to neutralise an overly acidic body. It can also have a positive effect on asthma because it helps ease inflammation in the respiratory system.
It also really helped me to stay hydrated when I was in Bali. I just added a pinch to my water and found that I was able to tolerate the heat much better than I otherwise might have. I drink a lot of water anyway because if I’m not hydrated I very quickly feel the effects, and this was especially true in the hot and humid climate of Indonesia. For the first two days I just drank plain water and I definitely noticed a difference when I switched to salted water on the third day.
What about Himalayan salt? While it has just as many minerals as sea salt, I generally avoid it because it can contain tiny metal particles from the drills that are used to extract it from the ground. I’m following a protocol to decrease heavy metal toxicity in my body so, for me, it isn’t the right choice but that’s not to say it isn’t still a much better option than table salt.
So, there you have it. Salt isn’t bad – you just have to choose the right type.