I just learned something that I think you will appreciate: the word salary comes from the Roman times from 200 BC to about 600 AD when soldiers got their salaries in salt–the word salary is derived from the word salt to soldiers. Salt was a rarer commodity than anything else and highly prized! Thus salt has been known to be a beneficial and a required mineral by humans for over 2000 years and today the heart healthy diets are trashing all that wisdom! Food for thought!
What happened with salt that it got such a bad name that today so many put it aside thinking it is not important? Salt did not change; it is still sodium chloride NaCl. I can tell you what happened: fads arrived!
Today we see new fads: Sea Salt!!! Has anyone ever thought any salt on earth is not sea salt? Really? Honestly? All salt on earth is sea salt! I cannot tell you how many times I get this question: should I get sea salt or regular? It doesn’t matter.. all are the same sea salts! Even Himalayan salt is sea salt as is table salt. Now there is an issue of pure versus “natural.” Some show colors, like Himalayan salt, which has orange, yellow, all kinds of colors–makes beautiful lamp. But in terms of eating that, you are eating metals! Yep! Natural sea salt is white. So if you are not eating white salt, you are eating salt that is not pure.
I looked at the various “sea salt” colors… gray, brown, etc. Celtic sea salt is gray. It has iron in it… do you need iron? Not if you are a man or a woman post menopause. Not sure what the brown stuff is all about and not sure I want to go there… but note: sea salt taken from anywhere “as is” contains dead bodies of animals and organic other things, perhaps going as far as fish dropping. I think you agree that “pure” is better than “natural” when in comes to salt. Table-salt has been purified to the max and all is left is sodium chloride, and guess what! That is all you need!
But the best (and scariest) story is yet to come.
A friend, an MD, and I were chatting the other day and she said: oh I eat Celtic salt so it is not sodium chloride! I thought to myself what the heck? Salt that is not sodium chloride? So I looked up on the Internet and sure enough Celtic salt does not list Chloride on the ingredients! This MD believed that she was only eating sodium! Now how many of you have been to college chemistry class 101 lab?
Sodium photo taken from Wikipedia.
The first item of experiments is usually a dark silver colored chunk of metal called sodium they bring for you to learn the trade with. They usually put it on top of a dish full of water under heavy protection and you watch how the sodium runs around like a torpedo with fire and blows up; many lab fires were created by sodium. Sodium is an ion that is positively charged Na+, meaning it has one electron more than ideal on its outer atomic layer. In must get rid of it in order to become neutral. Chloride has one electron less on its outer layer and it wants one to become stable.
I link you here to a picture that I did not create but shows you what sodium and what chloride look like that create salt.
Thus one cannot eat sodium without blowing up… in fact it would catch fire from the moisture in your hands… I understand if people who never took chemistry class don’t know that but an M.D.??? Really? Doesn’t know that salt is sodium chloride?
I also had some people tell me it is acidic; others that it is basic. OK people: it is neutral. When one + and one – meet as in Na+ (sodium) and Cl- (Chloride) they neutralize each other. Thus salt is neither acidic nor basic; it is neutral. If you get your stomach burning from salt, it is because you had acid in your stomach before the salt since salt is neutral, it cannot make it acidic.
So with this I just permanently wanted to note that
- salt is an amazingly important and highly valued mineral without which our body cannot survive and
- I hopefully explained what it is and that it is not acidic.
The one thing I did not mention is why everything we eat only notes sodium as the important ingredient. It is because in our bodies sodium and chloride separate into ions and sodium stays inside cells, holding onto water. Thus too much sodium (if you don’t drink enough water and eat enough potassium) can harm you and cause hypertension. The chloride part stays outside of the cell and its function is to create a voltage difference so the cells pumps, gates, and channels can operate.
Salt is very important for the human body so don’t forget your salt today!
Appreciate your comments!