What is Salt?
We’ll adopt a schoolmasterly tone at this point. Salt (NaCl) is a natural mineral made up of white cube-shaped crystals composed of two elements, sodium and chlorine.
It is translucent, colourless, odourless (officially, though we think you can smell the freshness of the sea in one of our boxes) and has a distinctive and characteristic taste.
Salt occurs naturally in many parts of the world in mineral form and has been mined for thousands of years. Chemically, sea salt is the same. Gastronomically, it’s very different.
Salt – Essential for Life
An important component of the human diet
Salt is essential for life (we couldn’t agree more) and as the body can’t produce it itself, has to be provided in small white boxes (or similar). Without it, our bodies become chemically unbalanced, our muscles and nervous system cease to function and eventually we die. We die eventually anyway of course, but salt keeps us going for a bit longer.
All our body fluids are salty. Blood, sweat, tears, saliva and the general consensus among experts is that a healthy adult should aim towards a daily intake of five or six grams of salt to maintain a good balance.
Salt – An amazing history
Salt is a remarkable thing. An essential element in the diet of not only humans but of animals, and even of many plants, it is one of the most effective and most widely used of all food preservatives. Its industrial, medical and other uses are almost without number (ie. around 14,000). In fact, salt has been such an important element of life that it has been the subject of many stories and is frequently referenced in fairy tales. Some cultures ascribe magical powers to salt.
Salt served as money at various times and places, and the quest for salt has been the cause of bitter warfare. Offering bread and salt to visitors is, in many cultures, a traditional sign of hospitality.
Saltmaking encompasses much of the history of Europe since Roman times. Medieval European records document saltmaking technologies and concessions. You can sound particularly impressive at dinner parties by throwing on one of these salty historical facts:
- Venice rose to economic greatness through its salt monopoly
- Halle is Germany’s “Salt City” and an “old salt route” connected German salt mines to shipping ports on the Baltic.
- Saltmaking was important in the Balkans where Tuzla, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, is actually named “tuz,” the Turkish word for salt. Your guests may have nodded off by this point.
- Salzburg, Austria, has made its four salt mines major tourist attractions. Do go.
- The successful Dutch blockade of the Iberian saltworks led directly to Spanish bankruptcy and the undoing of Philip II.
- France has always been a salt producer and has a “salt road” of its own, along the Mediterranean coast.
At which point, it’s probably time to bring this potted history of all things salt to a close. There’s much, much more to tell, so do let us know if you’d like some more flakes from the salt-encrusted archives.
- You would die without taking in any salt
- Our body’s don’t make salt you “must” consume it
- Salt is one of the 5 basic human taste senses [ sour, sweet , savoury, bitter]
- Salt regulates fluid levels , nerves , muscles and blood P .
- Salt gives food taste Job 6 : 6 [Niv] bible
- Salt preserves food
- Animal tissue contains more salt than plant tissue .
- Table salt is refined and has chemicals
- Sea salt and Himalayan contains trace minerals
- “Too much” salt causes fluid retention [ Hypertension] high blood P
- “Too little” salt [ Hyponatremia ] reduces body functions
Eating Pork lunch meats included [ which is cured and loaded with salt , is a big cause of high blood P as well as using the salt shaker ] .
Too much sodium in the body is a key contributor to hypertension, a condition characterized by high blood pressure. Within the body, water follows sodium in and out of cells and tissues. When a high amount of sodium accumulates in the bloodstream, water rushes into the bloodstream as well. As the volume of blood increases, the pressure within the blood vessels also increases — resulting in high blood pressure. Over time, high blood pressure can lead to cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke and kidney damage.
Pair it With Potassium
If you think your diet might be high in sodium, indulge in potassium-rich foods. Although additional research is necessary to determine the exact link between the nutrients, potassium seems to lessen the dangerous effects of sodium. Foods high in potassium include bananas, potatoes, squash, spinach, raisins, cantaloupe, beans and lentils.