I love salt.
It is the only rock we eat and comes in a variety of colors– gray, black, pink and red. It is such an important rock people used to be paid in salt, hence the origin of the word “salary”. Historically salt has been a foundation of society. Those who controlled salt flats, controlled people. As with many ancient foods, salt is currently misunderstood.
It’s the processing and excessive consumption of salt, not salt itself, that contributes to high blood pressure, stroke and even osteoporosis. But does that mean we must drastically reduce our salt intake in order to be healthy? I think it is more important to look at the quality of the salt we consume.
Whole salt is colorful. Color indicates the presence of trace minerals. This is the kind of salt to choose. Our bodies need salt for protein and carbohydrate digestion.Salt is a major electrolyte helping us maintain proper hydration. Our adrenal glands use salt to function properly. Salt is mandatory for basic cellular metabolism throughout the body. We need this rock to thrive.
Avoid pure white salt. The processing this salt undergoes rips out minerals and adds anti-caking agents such as sodium silicoaluminate. Table salt is the number one source of aluminum in the American diet causing oxidative damage to brain tissues.
Iodized salt is commonly available in stores, and while iodine is important in the diet, it is better to get it from whole foods than from processed salt. Iodine rich foods include wild fish, sea vegetables (seaweed, kombu, wakame), pastured eggs, pastured butter and milk. By eliminating or decreasing processed and boxed foods, we reduce the negative influences of processed salt on our bodies.
In the store look for salt that is colorful (gray, red or pink) and has visible signs of moisture; these are all hallmarks of quality unrefined sea salt. Some salts are more nutrient dense than others– Celtic sea salt has one of the highest mineral contents.
Buying in bulk is a great way to decrease the cost of quality ingredients, so talk with friends about sharing larger quantities.
While greater nutritional density is not an excuse to salt our food heavily, increasing the quality of food, including salt, in our diet can increase our health. Good food and lifestyle choices nourish our minds and bodies leaving less room for disease.
Aluminum causes oxidative stress on brain tissues
Drago D, Cavaliere A, Mascetra N, et al. Aluminum modulates effects of beta amyloid(1-42) on neuronal calcium homeostasis and mitochondria functioning and is altered in a triple transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Rejuvenation Res. Oct 2008;11(5):861-71