Passing on Table Salt

table salt,salt shaker

I used to eat a lot of common table salt. My Dad used a low sodium alternative because of his blood pressure. Familiar American health organizations like the American Medical Association, the National Institute of Medicine, and the American Heart Association promote the idea that limiting salt use and sodium intake is a good idea. If we’re talking about the sodium in processed foods and the salt in most salt shakers, particularly in the US, then I strongly agree.

The salt we’ve been using for the past 50-100 years is the salt that’s implicated in various health conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure). It’s a highly processed substance that’s harvested mechanically, heated to extremes to destroy its molecular structure, and bleached.

Most of the valuable minerals in salt are removed in processing while additives are incorporated - like aluminum silicate (used in the manufacture of glass, ceramics, paints, printing inks, rubber, and plastics), other anti-caking agents, preservatives, dextrose (a sugar synthetically derived from starch), and the inorganic compound potassium iodide or potassium iodate (to combat iodine deficiency thyroid disease). Salt like other spices may be irradiated.

Most salt produced in the US is used for industrial purposes (as a source of chlorine for example) and not for consumption, but if Americans are consuming too much, maybe it’s because their bodies are begging for it. In fact, salt is essential to our health. Water and salt are important and powerful regulators of metabolic processes. But again, we’re not talking about the stuff ordinarily referred to as salt which is nothing but sodium, chloride and additives (natural unrefined salt has 82 other minerals!). Table salt is toxic to the body.

Our bodies actually try to get rid of this toxin which is taxing to our excretory systems and causes cell death. The folks at American BlueGreen put it very well:

In almost every preserved product, salt is used as part of the preservation process. Therefore, by adding more salt to the already salted food, the body receives more salt than it can get rid of. The body now tries to isolate the over dose of salt. In this process, water molecules surround the sodium chloride in order to ionize it into sodium and chloride to neutralize it. For this process, the water is extracted from our cells and the body has to sacrifice its most precious cell water in order to neutralize sodium chloride. In doing so, the dehydrated body cells die.

In my experience, not eating real salt created a wicked circle: I craved salt, ate too much of the refined stuff, suffered dehydration, and still craved salt, so I continued to eat the vial stuff. Today, I carry both Himalayan Crystal Salt and organic (non-irradiated) pepper around so that we can season our food when away from home without contaminating our bodies with common salt (and provide our bodies with something good that we really need).

Speaking of contamination, just because a product is labeled ‘sea salt’ doesn’t mean we shouldn’t examine the ingredients. A container of sea salt from the supermarket may be just as refined as any other common salt, and of course there’s the level of pollution in our oceans to consider.

It’s important to know that a pure, hand processed, nutritious salt will cost more than most people are used to spending on table salt that could last in the kitchen cabinet for a decade. I prefer the original Himalayan Crystal Salt featured in the book, Water & Salt, The Essence of Life by Dr. Barbara Hendel, MD and Peter Ferreira. It’s healthful, tasty and they have some excellent products including bath salts, granulated salt, salt suitable for grinding (and grinders).

Before I found the original Himalayan Crystal Salt, I also enjoyed Celtic Sea Salt which is rich in minerals, but seemed to have more moisture content. Different alternatives to table salt can be purchased online or you might look for an additive free kosher product locally.

Consider buying the cheap table salt for cleaning, though. You don't have to eat it but you might discover there are many other uses for that

table salt!

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