In the 1900’s a shift in cultural values was all that took to depreciate the tremendous value of nature-made salt. Machine-production was simply better than hand-made was the mind-set in those days. Refining salt, further cheapened the supply and rendered salt a dirty word to be avoided for the sake of health. Today, perceptions of salt, influenced by refined salt, is a far cry from the days of yore. Salt making was an art and craft of local artisans positioned globally. It was used to preserve food by brining and curing. The possession of salt was so highly prized, economies were based on it and whomever controlled salt-making had the upper hand. It was a symbol of power and a means to achieve it. Today, the organic food movement has revived the forgotten health food that is salt. Today, we are re-discovering salt in a way our ancestors couldn’t appreciate. With our nutrient-deficient soil and foods, salt, unrefined, can fulfill those missing minerals and trace elements we can’t get by eating whole, organic foods. We can maximize our nutritional standpoint, by fermenting with wholesome salt. It is only now we see the wisdom of the use of salt by our ancestors, as we (the organic movement) can appreciate the old time preservation of food with salt. Here are twelve facts about salt you probably didn’t know…
1. Raw Salt is a health food. Salt contains sodium chloride and trace elements to balance it out, in raw form. Our bodies uses the sodium in salt for many essential functions in the body, such as fluid regulation, nerve/muscle function and digestion.
2. Salt is the only mineral we eat. In comparison, we consume vegetation, animals and various forms of sea life.
3. Salt is the only universal ingredient. While it is the only universal ingredient, it is the most varied. Nature-made salts come from all regions and reflect the uniqueness of a specific area.
4. Salt taxation funded the Great Wall of China.1
5. Refined salt contains up to 99% of pure Sodium Chloride (NaCl). 2
6. Out of millions ton of refined salt manufactured, only 6% is used in food. The rest is used in chemical manufacturing processes from plastics to medicine.2
7. Our blood is .9 salt. Our blood, plasma, extracellular fluid and lymphatic fluid are salted.1
8. Seawater contains every element in the earth’s crust.1
9. Nine of the top eleven elements in our bodies are among the top eleven elements of the sea. Eight elements make up 99% of the ocean. Water: Oxygen (85.700%), Hydrogen (10.800%) Trace Elements: Chlorine (1.900%), Sodium (1.050%), Magnesium (.135%), Sulfur (0.089%), Calcium (0.040%), Potassium (0.038%), Bromine, Carbon (74+).1 I’m convinced there are more elements that science has not accounted for.
10. Salt and water are a harmonic duo that balances each other out. We use sodium in salt to regulate how the water operates and we use water to balance the concentration of salt in the body.1
11. Our thoughts are salt. The 100 billion neurons in your brain contains approximately a million chemical pumps, each capable of transporting hundreds of positively charged sodium and potassium ions. The influx and efflux of sodium and potassium ions makes up the electrical activity of your brain and nervous system.1
12. We cannot live without salt. You can become a vegetarian and live without meat. You can omit grains and dairy in your diet and be just fine, but salt is an essential mineral our body cannot exist without.
I highly recommend the book “Salted”, the inspiration behind this article. It is well written and a captivating read that includes recipes and just about every aspect of salt that boggles the mind. Speaking spiritually and personally, if salt doesn’t prove that each and every one of us is connected to the earth in a way that is humbling and honorable, I truly don’t know what will. Here’s a quote that I feel aptly reflects the dilemma of today’s refined salt – a “savor” that has been lost.
“Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?” - Luke 14:34
Which points about salt stood out the most to you?
1. Bitterman, Mark, Salted: A Manifesto of the World’s Most Essential Mineral With Recipes, Ten Speed Press, New York, 2010
2. Wikipedia – Salt