Take this advice with a pinch of (Himalayan) salt.
A recent article in the UK Guardian reports on a survey claiming that ‘gourmet’ unrefined sea salts are just as unhealthy as regular table salt. This is bad science and here’s why:
The survey was conducted specifically with sodium chloride in mind without paying any attention to the actual mineral and trace element composition of natural salt and its positive effects. Specifically it ignored the damaging effects of chemically cleaned sodium chloride versus naturally occurring sodium chloride with all the other naturally occurring mineral components such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and trace elements.
Unrefined sea salt, like human blood, and there is no coincidence here, is a complex of mineral components. One of these is magnesium, a smooth muscle relaxant, which helps dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure. [i]
The survey also fails to mention that many modern farming practices have leached the soils of their mineral content much of which has conveniently ended up in the sea. So, not surprisingly this is one place we will find these lost minerals. Farmers know this and that’s why they provide salt licks for their livestock.
Unfortunately it’s not just the good minerals that end up in the sea today. With modern farming practices including heavy use of super phosphates pesticides, herbicides and fungicides there are a lot of things that get concentrated in salt that are probably not supposed to be in our food. And notice the word concentrated is underlined. For this reason I recommend Himalayan sea salt that was deposited millions of years ago from pristine oceans.
Eight symptoms of salt deficiency
- Frequent urination
- Frequent headaches
- Anxiety, nervousness
- Weakness, fatigue, low energy
- Poor protein digestion (due to low hydrochloric acid level)*
* Salt is essential for the production of adequate hydrochloric acid in the stomach, essential for digestion
Unless you have been diagnosed with sodium sensitivity then you should not be afraid to cook with unrefined sea salt and use it as a garnish. If it’s good enough for the cows and sheep, it’s good enough for you.
Note that as most sea salts do not contain adequate iodine it is important to source this from sea food, kelp, wakame, karengo or other sea vegetables.
[i] Kass L, Weekes J & Carpenter L., (2012) Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition doi:10.1038/ejcn.2012.4