Ayurveda says that salt kindles metabolic fire or agni. Table sat is processed, where its stripped of all the good minerals that the body needs. It also contains added additives or chemicals to prevent the salt from caking. Unrefined or mineral salt is a great option as it adds flavour without chemicals. Use sea salt, himalayan salt, mineral salt or celtic salt.
Mineral Salt vs Table Salt
A debate that I have been listening and reading about for more than I probably should have. After studying Ayurveda intensely for the past couple of years, I understand the importance of salt in every day life. It’s a nice change to hear the benefits of salt after years of hearing the negative aspects of the staple in all kitchen cabinets.
Salt for Health
From an Ayurvedic perspective, it kindles our metabolic fire, or agni. It gives heat to our body. When we are dehydrated, adding a pinch of salt to our water will help our cells retain the water we are drinking, instead of just flushing it out of our bodies. The emotion my teacher, Vasant Lad BAM&S, MASc, would always equate to salt is enthusiasm. There’s not vibrancy in life without salt. Salt brings out the flavor of other spices in our everyday meals; it gives flavor to our life.
Let’s dig a little bit deeper now. For a good majority of my life, the only salt that I really knew of was the round cardboard container with a spout, and the big word “iodized” written across the bottle. This was as common as it got. The start of adding iodine to salt was a pretty big innovation. Many research studies show the effects really helping certain regions in the States, where iodine wasn’t found in the soil. The downfall of this however, is that table salt is as processed as they come.
Ayurveda says a few things on processed foods, including table salt. First, it’s processed. We want to stay as close to the real deal as possible when it comes to the foods we eat. Remember, a big part of our food choices is prana—the living energy that fuels our life. One of the biggest ways we take in prana is from our food. The fresher and more organic the food, the more prana is going to be in there. Processed foods and goods starts to deviate from that rule. The more processed the food, the less “real” stuff is going to be in there, the less prana. So, this isn’t off to a good start. Secondly, the salt is stripped of all of the good minerals in there that our bodies benefit from. And by taking out the good stuff, they put in additives and different chemicals to stop the salt from caking. Along with all of this, processed foods have an extra heating element to them, because of all the extra chemicals added to them.
Furthermore, anything that is processed, is sort of considered an “extreme”. This is huge especially for out Vata friends, or individuals who have a lot of air, space, and wind energies in their constitution. It’s important for these individuals to take in experiences and foods and basically everything in a moderate form. All of this goes against what Ayurveda says is good for our bodies, and turns salt into a terrible enemy.
Unrefined or mineral salt is an awesome alternative. Plus, it comes in so many varieties that add a ton of different flavors to your foods without the extra chemicals and additives. Sea salt, mineral salt, celtic salt, Himalayan salt—all are great options. Using unrefined salts is making the decision to eat as closely as possible to what Mother Earth intended. Play around with these different salts and see what flavor works best for you!