(NaturalNews) All living creatures need salt to stay alive, especially human beings. The human body is 75% water, all of which is maintained as a salt water solution. It is called isotonic saline, and occurs at 0.9%. This solution can be duplicated and is sold commercially as an intravenous fluid. More than 25% of the body`s salt is found in bones. It takes a complex and intricate process to manage the ebb and flow of isotonic body solutions, all of which contain electrolytes. Electrolytes are elements and minerals that human beings need to keep a functioning body. Among the most important are sodium and potassium.
Cellular function of the human body depends on the passage of water and certain minerals like sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium in and out of individual cells. This operation produces the body`s "electricity" as cells become charged either positively or negatively. As the charges inside and outside the cell walls shift, the heart beats, the lungs breathe, the blood circulates and cellular life continues. Sodium plus chloride equals salt but table salt has a number of other additives. It has iodine added and is bleached to further purify it and make it white. It often contains anti-caking agents. Consistent intake of large amounts of table salt can cause high blood pressure and kidney problems.
Iodine became a salt additive in 1924, when it was apparent that an iodine-poor diet led to goiter development. The Great Lakes region of the United States was known as the goiter belt and in 1930, it was estimated that 40% of Michigan`s population suffered from this thyroid condition. Today, iodine is available in sea vegetables, especially kelp, so it is doubtful that an iodine deficiency will occur if sea salt
is chosen over table salt. Some other edible sea vegetables include nori, a dark purple or blackish leaf that is popular for sushi rolls. It turns a green color when toasted. Arame and hijiki are wiry-looking and resemble pasta noodles. Hijiki is black with a strong flavor; arame is lacy and mild. Its flavor can be described as almost sweet. Kombu and wakame are kelp-like sea vegetables that can be used to flavor soups such as miso. More ordinary vegetables like navy beans, spinach and potato skins will also provide iodine.
Sea salt is produced more naturally than table salt; it is usually dried in sunlight. It is available in fine or coarse grain, but table salt will always be finer grained because of the processing. Many people claim their preference for sea salt
is based on its subtle flavor and it is interesting to note that laboratories have never been able to exactly reproduce sea salt. The mineral composition and complexity of its crystals make Mother Nature the ultimate chemist.
According to Dr. Barbara Henley in her book, Water and Salt, the Essence of Life
(Natural Resources, Inc.), natural sea salt is capable of keeping the body
Overuse of over-processed table salt can lead to salt retention in the body and can cause high blood pressure and kidney disease, but some salt is critical to the maintenance of normal blood pressure ranges. Salt also promotes regular heart rhythm. It is necessary for firm bones. A major contributor to osteoporosis is salt and water
deficiencies in the body. Brain cells can be susceptible to too much acid. Salt, because it is a base, helps prevent that problem. Crucial to proper brain function, salt is also a primary conductor of nerve cell impulse communication to all parts of the body.
Salt is a naturally occurring antihistamine. It can help clear nasal and sinus congestion. Salt solutions are used in breathing treatments to help clear the upper respiratory tract from mucus and phlegm. A salt water gargle is a tried-and-true sore throat treatment. Gentle salt water rinses are often prescribed following dental extractions to aid both the clotting and healing process.
It is essential for proper muscle functioning. Salt tablets are commonly used by those who work in areas of high temperature to replace the salt removed by excess sweating. Without that replacement, muscle cramping occurs and some people suffer a variety of unpleasant heat reactions. Mothers of young football players need to remember to add good sources of potassium and sodium to their children`s diets when hot weather play takes place.
Food cannot be digested effectively without the presence of some salt. Nearly all foods, animal and plant, contain some salt.
Take care when purchasing sea salt. In many cases it is processed as table salt. Over-processing leads to loss of most of the beneficial minerals that make sea salt different. The more natural type of sea salt will always be darker in color because as the sea water evaporates, salt is dried out in two layers, a white top layer and a brown under layer. It is the brown under layer that retains the important minerals.
Hendel, Barbara. 2003. Water and Salt, the Essence of Life. Natural Resources, Inc. New York, New York.
Haas, Elson. 1992. Staying Healthy with Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine. Celestial Arts Publishing: California.
de Langre, Jacques.1985. Seasalt`s Hidden Powers. Happiness Press: North Carolina.
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