Ariticle by Rickie H!

Salt

Salt

Let’s face it, most of us like salt. It’s a necessary mineral to sustain life but when used in excess like today’s world salt can cause major harm to the body. Why do we need it however? What causes it to harm us?

Salt in today’s world comes in 3 forms; refined, unrefined, and iodized. All 3 are edible and can be beneficial or dangerous, some are however better than others. Society today uses salt in a variety of manners ranging from paper production to food preservation.

Refined salt is the most widely used type and is mostly sodium chloride. It is readily available to us in the form of table salt. When consumed in moderation it acts as an electrolyte. Moderation is about 2.4g( ½ a teaspoon) of sodium which is about 5g(1 teaspoon) of salt a day for the average healthy individual. Salt is important for water retention, retaining PH balance, stimulating glands, and is important for the nerves and muscular contraction. Should you somehow not consume enough sodium deficiency symptoms include decreased blood pressure, weakness, apathy, nausea, and major cramps. On the flip side when you eat too much sodium be prepared for high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, excess water weight, and reduced taste sensitivity.

Another type of salt we get our sodium from is unrefined salt. Unrefined is basically a fancy word for unprocessed, thus unrefined salts are somewhat healthier. Unrefined salts are sea salts and are used for flavoring, bath salts, cosmetics, and smelling salts. Unrefined salts are more bitter than normal salts.

The third type of salt is iodized salt. Refined and unrefined salts alone do not have enough iodine to sustain life. Iodized salt is just what the name suggests. Iodine is necessary for proper brain function as iodine deficiency is the number one cause of mental retardation. Be aware however iodized salt loses its iodine over time due to evaporation and oxidation.

hyperkalemiaSalt substitutes are available today in many places. The most popular is potassium chloride. It is similar in taste to table salt without the sodium content. Potassium chloride is not a safe substitute, hyperkalemia may result from excess potassium and those who have kidney or heart problems shouldn’t use salt substitutes at all.

Salt is a required nutrient and in some cases a necessary evil. The biggest thing is no matter how you get your salt remember moderation and opt for the iodized salt. It may be only one nutrient but for the same price why not?

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_iodised_salt

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt#Salty_condiments

http://www.ehow.com/about_4622347_negative-effects-sodium.html

http://health.rutgers.edu/factsheets/sodium.htm

http://www.anyvitamins.com/sodium-info.htm

http://www.healthvitaminsguide.com/minerals/sodium.htm