Natural Health Tips

Natural Salt Is Vital For Good Health

Salt is essential for good health, although it has been implicated in contributing to conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease. But there is a big difference between refined, table and cooking salt most people are accustomed to using, and pure, natural salt.

It is reported by Ibn Maajah in his Sunan in the chapter on foods, that Anas (radiallaahu 'anhu) narrates that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) said "Your chief seasoning is salt."

Ibn al-Qayyim in his Prophetic medicine said regarding salt: "Salt preserves man's food, guards his body and improves everything it is mixed with ...It contains powers to cleanse and dissolve, and expel the thick moistures and dry them up, to strengthen bodies and prevent their putrefaction and corruption," and "It cleanses the teeth, expels decay from them, firms and strengthens the gums. Its benefits are numerous."

Salt is high in sodium, and sodium is essential for proper absorption of other major nutrients and functioning of nerves and muscles, as well as being necessary for balancing water and minerals in the body. The body uses high mineral salts to create electrolytes. Electrolytes carry electrical currents throughout the body - sending messages and instructions to cells in all bodily systems. Electrolytes are also necessary for enzyme production, which are responsible for breaking down food, absorbing nutrients, muscle function, hormone production and more. Electrolytes and enzymes are also linked to healthy immune function, proper regulation of bodily fluids, and adrenal health.

Table salt

Table salt typically consists of 97.5% sodium chloride and 2.5% chemicals such as aluminum, ferrocyanide, bleach and iodine. These are anti-caking agents whose role is to prevent the salt from mixing with water, in the box or within the human body. The salt is then dried at very high temperatures (over 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit), and the excessive heat alters the natural chemical structure of the salt, causing the potential for health problems in the body. What results after this cleaning process is sodium chloride - an unnatural chemical form of salt with almost none of the vital minerals that real, unrefined salt has.

This form of salt is in almost every preserved product commonly available, as well as other types of sodium, such as sodium benzoate, sodium nitrate, and the toxin monosodium glutamate (MSG).

Typical table salt crystals are totally isolated from each other, and in order for the body to try to metabolize table salt crystals, it must sacrifice tremendous amounts of energy. Water molecules must surround the sodium chloride to break them up into sodium and chloride ions in order to help the body neutralize them. This can result in dehydrated cells, and upset fluid balance, constantly overburdening your elimination systems, which can impair your health.

Natural Salt

The right type of salt, unrefined, has more health benefits than health hazards. Healthy natural salt contains no toxins and over 84 minerals and elements necessary for optimal health. Unrefined, pure salt looks distinctly different from refined salt; it is usually off-white, pink or gray in color and is courser than traditional salt. However, some sea salts available are bright white in color, and this is a result of partial processing and bleaching, so avoid sea salt that is too white and fine.

All of the medical and scientific studies on the health hazards of salt have examined only refined white salt, a biologically damaging, unnatural substance. But numerous studies now indicate that a balance of minerals is necessary and more beneficial than eliminating sodium altogether. Research from the Hypertension Center of the New York-Cornell Medical Center shows that the high blood pressure problem lies not in salt intake but in an overactive hormone system [1]. Another study published in the BMJ concluded that there were doubts about effects of sodium reduction on overall health [2].

Salt is a natural product that is the most basic condiment that enhances the flavor of foods, and should be a healthy addition to the diet. It offers a complex balance of minerals essential for the body, and naturally boosts the immune system. But like all foods, salt should be eaten in moderation. Also, try to avoid the sodium of refined salt and other sodium sources like food additives, which are present in large quantities in processed foods.

References

  • [1] Laragh JH, Sealey JE. Relevance of the plasma renin hormonal control system that regulates blood pressure and sodium balance for correctly treating hypertension and for evaluating ALLHAT. Am J Hypertens. 2003;16:407-415

  • [2] Hooper L et al. Systematic review of long term effects of advice to reduce dietary salt in adults BMJ 2002;325:628