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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sea Salt Versus Table Salt

Salt is a controversial topic lately. Too much salt is bad and too little salt is bad. What is the deal with sea salt? Is it better than table salt? I personally use sea salt. I have looked up information on it and here is what I have found.

When you eat clean and cook your own food, you are in control of your salt intake.  You can add flavors with herbs, lemon, garlic, and lots of other things besides salt.  But, your body does need salt and certain recipes, like breads, will not work unless you have salt in them.  So...what kind of salt to use..

Table Salt:  Table salt is mined from the ground.  The common table salt is 99.9% sodium chloride. It is obtained from the salt deposits which are mined, heat-blasted and chemically treated. Due to these processes, table salt is stripped of all minerals other than sodium and chloride. Some anti-caking agents are added to table salt to make it free-flowing. Although, initially table salt which had just sodium and chlorine as the only minerals was consumed by people, later on, salt manufacturers started adding iodine to it to prevent people from suffering from iodine deficiency diseases.

Sea Salt:  refers to the unrefined salt that is obtained by evaporating sea water collected in man-made pools near a protected shoreline. Sea water is channeled into man-made pools along protected shores, and is then left under the Sun till all the water gets evaporated. What is left behind in the pools is sea salt. Sea salt is 98% sodium chloride, while the remaining 2% is made of other important minerals like iron, sulfur, magnesium and other trace elements. Due to higher mineral content, sea salts are more flavored than table salt and you can use less for more flavor.

Table Salt Vs Sea Salt:

  • While sodium and chlorine are the only minerals contained in table salt, sea salt has other minerals like iron, sulfur and magnesium naturally present in them. This increases the nutritional value of sea salt as compared to table salt. The various minerals present in sea salt helps us to maintain a healthy balance of the various electrolytes in the body.
  • The refining process of table salt strips it of all of its minerals, other than sodium and chloride. This makes it an unnatural substance as compared to sea salt, and contributes to high blood pressure, heart and kidney diseases. On the other hand, benefits of sea salt include, inducing proper sleep, promoting efficient working of the liver, kidneys and the adrenal glands. Sea salts also boost the immune system of the body and don't cause high blood pressure like refined table salt.
  • Table salt is fine, white crystals. Sea salt on the other hand may have a slight grayish color if they are from the coastal areas of France, or may pinkish hue if it came from some other exotic locale. It may be coarse or fine grained.
  • Although, due to the higher mineral content, sea salt may be considered to be a healthier choice than table salt, it has its own drawbacks. One major disadvantage of sea salt is that it is a poor source of iodine. The iodine that is added during the refining process of table salt makes it a better source of iodine than sea salt. Iodine helps with the thyroid so if you consume sea salt, make sure you eat other foods rich in iodine like sea food, strawberries, dairy products,  cranberries, navy beans, and potatoes.
Some retailers may sell sea salts that are fine-grained and white in color. If you want to enjoy the advantages of sea salt, be sure that it is the unrefined one and contains the minerals that gives it an edge over table salt.


Other Health Benefits of Sea Salt:

Heart Disease
Sea salt in conjunction with water, is essential for the regulation of blood pressure.When salt is taken with water it can help to reduce high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and help to regulate an irregular heart beat. Thus sea salt can help to prevent atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes.

Before sleeping, if taken with warm water, it helps a person get a deeper and longer sleep.

Healthy Immune System
Sea salt naturally helps you to build up a strong immune system so that you can fight off the cold virus, the fever and flu, allergies and other autoimmune disorders.

Sea salt helps in food absorption from the intestinal tract and maintains the level of sugar in the blood, hence reducing the risk of diabetes.

Weight Loss
Believe it or not, but sea salt can also help you in weight loss. It helps the body to create digestive juices so that the foods you eat are digested faster, and it helps to prevent buildup in the digestive tract, which eventually can lead to constipation and weight gain.

Salt also provides chloride, which helps produce acids necessary to digest protein and enzymes for carbohydrate digestion, and is necessary for proper brain functioning and growth.

Skin Conditions
A sea salt bath can help to relieve dry and itchy skin as well as serious conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. The bath naturally opens up the pores, improves circulation in the skin and hydrates the tissues so that your skin can heal. Salt baths have been used for centuries and in Greek cultures for healing for ages. Sea salt is also used in the cosmetic industry, mainly a natural exfoliant or scrub. Its high mineral content also finds it a place in the manufacture of skin care products and foundations. Sea salt crystals may also be used to make antiperspirants and deodorants

Asthma and Sinus Issues
Sea salt is effective in reducing inflammation in the respiratory system. Thus the production of phlegm is slowed down so that you can breathe easier again. Some say that sprinkling sea salt on the tongue after drinking a glass of water is just as effective as using an inhaler. But the great thing about sea salt is that it has no side effects when taken in moderation. It also helps in is clearing of sinus cavities. Sea salt is a strong natural antihistamine. After drinking a glass or two of water put a little bit of sea salt on the tongue.  It is also useful in clearing lungs of mucus plugs and phlegm.

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