At Garden Way we are lucky to have partnered with Ellen Syversen, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. Ellen makes herself avalible for our residents whether it be through informational workshops or one on one visits. She also writes a monthly article for our residents which we will now start sharing on our blog as well! Check back each month for new topics such as insomnia, vitamins/minerals, sugar intake, dyhydration and so much more!
SALT OF THE EARTH
Salt has earned a bad reputation in recent years, so it may come as a surprise to hear this ancient seasoning is actually crucial for good health.
Humans are made up of about 72% water and 28% mineral salts (plus some bacteria, proteins and fatty acids). As such, there are two “oceans” of water in the body. One ocean is held inside the cells of our bodies, and the other ocean is the sea of fluid existing outside of our cells. Your good health depends on a delicate balance between the volume of these two bodies of water, and this balance is achieved by salt—natural, unrefined mineral salts.
A Grain of Salt
The differences between refined salt (also known as “table salt”) and unrefined, natural salt are as great as the differences between white sugar and freshly cut sugar cane. The typical modern, refined table salt can be compared to refined sugar and refined flour—our industrial food system has stripped the nutrient content.
Major table salt producing companies mine unpalatable rock salt from the earth, and then dry it in huge, fossil-fuel-guzzling kilns with temperatures reaching 1200 degrees F. This changes the salt’s chemical structure into pure sodium chloride, an unnatural chemical form of salt that your body recognizes as a foreign substance it wants to get rid of as quickly as possible.
But if that weren’t enough, toxic additives like anti-caking agents, excessive amounts of potassium iodide and other chemicals are mixed into the salt. Many versions of commercial salt also contain aluminum derivatives, which have been implicated in a number of health conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease.
All these additives can cause discoloration in salt, so bleaching agents are then used to restore the desirable white color. The end product is a highly industrial, processed food Americans have come to think of as “salt” that has the potential for a myriad of health problems.
Benefits-Salt of the Earth
Sea salt is better than table salt, by a wide margin. In contrast to refined table salt, most sea salt is naturally harvested and dried in the sun, and contains over 80 trace minerals and electrolytes that are easily assimilated by your body.
These mineral salts and electrolytes are key players in enzyme production as well as immune, heart, nervous system, and endocrine function. According to Dr. F. Batmanghelidj in his book, Water: For Health, for Healing, for Life, unrefined sea salt has the following properties:
• Stabilizes irregular heartbeats and is actually essential for the regulation of blood pressure—in conjunction with water.
• Extracts excess acidity from the cells in the body, particularly the brain cells—helpful with Alzheimers.
• Helps balance the sugar levels in the blood.
• Generates hydroelectric energy in cells throughout the body.
• Plays a key role in clearing mucus and sticky phlegm in the lungs-helpful for asthma and cystic fibrosis.
• Vital for clearing up sinus congestion.
• A strong, natural antihistamine.
• Essential for the prevention of muscle cramps and essential for nerve conduction.
• Vital to making the structure of bones firm.
• Sea salt can help regulate fluid balance in the body and allow nutrients and oxygen to travel to their necessary destination.
• Stimulates hydrochloric acid production in the stomach and digestive enzymes in the mouth/intestines to digest and assimilate foods we eat.
The Salt Hypothesis
Some have suggested that since excessive salt intake is related to high blood pressure, and cardiovascular risks are also related to high blood pressure, all salt intake increases cardiovascular risk. Once again, chemically treated table salt is damaging to health, but sea salt along with a whole foods diet is not.
This does not mean that everyone should abandon the low-sodium diet right away. It is always important to check with your doctor. But remember, Americans eating a processed food diet simply get too much sodium! Stop eating processed foods and you will reduce your salt intake naturally. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is the underlying barrier to health not sea salt.
Where to Find Natural Salt
Unrefined, natural sea salt is not white and dry; it is gray with minerals and feels damp. Some artisanal natural salts are pink, yellowish or even black to reflect the diverse mineral sources they come from. Each type of natural salt has its own unique flavor to enjoy. You can find natural, unrefined salts at natural food stores, as well as online. My favorite sea salt is from the Celtic Sea Salt Company, which sells unrefined salt that is hand raked from the Brittany Sea. Himalayan Pink Sea Salt and Redmond’s Real Salt from prehistoric sea beds in Utah are also nice choices. By choosing a real, whole foods salt, you can enjoy the health and taste benefits this mineral rich food from the sea can bring to your life.
Ellen Syversen, MPH, CHES, NTP of Pathways for Health, LLC offers holistic nutritional counseling, education and therapy for persons of all ages to correct imbalances in body chemistry and achieve optimal wellness naturally. For more information on Ellen you can check out her website click here!