Salt has been given a bad wrap over the years but I’m here to tell you that avoiding it is the worst thing you could do for your health (well, maybe not THE worst!).
Don’t be afraid to season your food during the cooking process, bit by bit, as it improves the flavour and the pleasure factor in your meals and gives you the minerals you need for your body to chug along, doing all the things like it’s meant to. Listen to your body as it will tell you how much you need and avoid processed and packaged foods as much as possible. Read the ingredient labels and choose the “no added salt” option where you can.
All salts are not the same. There is a huge difference between the refined, bleached table salt and the ones that come from natural sources like rivers, oceans and the foothills of the Himalayas.
Regular table salt is highly refined and fiddled with. What does that mean? That means that it is usually bleached, filled with anti-caking agents and includes artificially produced minerals. Salt holds moisture so chemicals are added to make the salt beautifully pourable and to stop it clumping (so inconvenient right?). It becomes simply sodium chloride after the natural salt has been refined and stripped of the minerals it naturally holds. This type of salt that is added to all processed foods and is inadvertently eaten in high quantities and where the link to blood pressure and heart disease comes from. Our diets have become infiltrated with processed foods and with that comes excess refined salt (sodium chloride) and it’s messing with our system.
Quality salt should not be avoided and these minerals are all essential for processes like muscle contraction and relaxation, the balance of fluids in the body and for the production, balance and function of hormones. When you crave more salt, chances are your body is needing more salt so always go by your tastebuds.
As with all natural products, manufacturers try to find a cheaper way to produce them and out-price the higher quality product. It becomes a thing about how a food is produced, not the product itself that causes health issues.
This is absolutely the case with salt. You can find pink salt easily these days, but always check that it is actually Himalayan salt, not just salt with pink colouring. Same with sea or river salt. Make sure it is from a quality source as our oceans and rivers are becoming more and more polluted and they may contain heavy metals that are not ideal.
I choose Himalayan salt as it comes from a clean, unpolluted source and contains 84 minerals and trace elements that are highly beneficial for the body, including magnesium, calcium, copper, potassium and iron.
It is, however, lower in iodine than the fortified table salt. Iodine is a vital mineral the thyroid needs to produce hormones. The best place to get extra iodine from is through including seaweed products in your cooking. It can be as simple as sprinkling a few dulse flakes on your food or popping a stick of wakame in your soups and stews.
Many people are deficient in iodine these days as the push to reduce salt to control blood pressure has been at the forefront of health campaigns. The increase in processed foods eaten comes with an increase in refined salt consumption as they go hand in hand. Plus our soils are now depleted of many minerals including iodine impacting the amount found in our foods. Food producers and governments jumped on the opportunity to fortify our breads and dairy with chemically produced iodine as a cheap way to prevent deficiency. Our body responds better to naturally occurring minerals found in real food, not from a laboratory.
So there you have it!
Ditch your refined table salt for a quality source of river or Himalayan salt. Don’t be afraid to season your food during the cooking process, bit by bit, as it improves the flavour and the pleasure factor in your meals. Listen to your body as it will tell you how much you need and avoid processed and packaged foods as much as possible. Read the labels and choose the “no added salt” option where you can.
Just keep on keeping it real!