Salt is considered to be one of the most ancient items used and prized by civilizations since time immemorial for religious, culinary and preservative activities.
Is Table salt Or Cooking Salt The Same As Sea Salt?
Well, the validity period of the answer being “yes” ended in the early years of the 20th century. Salt was and is still made from sea salt but what is left post “processing” (we call table salt), though chemically similar, is distinctively “nutrient deficient” than natural sea salt.
The dawn of the prepacked, processed and canned foods era drained vital nutrients, vitamins and other trace elements from food. The food industry needed to reintroduce these “lost” nutrients back into the food. Salt companies managed to chemically crack the sea salt crystal and separate out the 85-90 nutrients and trace elements and sell them to the food processing giants. What was left at the bottom of the barrel was Sodium Chloride, which tasted salty, but was just brown cake. But by adding anti-caking agents like Magnesium Carbonate or Calcium Silicate and bleaching it white, there was a market for it. When the companies started marketing it as “a salt that can prevent goiter”, by adding inexpensive iodine to it, the switch from traditional sea salt to cheap salt was instant and enormous.
Why is it important to know the difference between “good” and “bad salt:
Since the beginning of industrial development, mined salt and the majority of sea salt (salt derived from natural evaporation of seawater), has been stripped of its inherent mineral content through a process that chemically cleans and reduces it to only sodium and chloride. Additionally, additives increase the salt’s unnatural profile.
The body recognizes this chemically-cleaned and chemically-enriched sodium chloride as an “unnatural” aggressive toxin and triggers the process of expelling it from our system. This causes a constant overburden on our excretive organs.
Salt has excellent preservative properties making it the number one choice in canned or “preserved” foods. Therefore, by adding more salt to the already salted processed food, the body needs to tackle a larger toxic load. The body tries to isolate the overdose of salt through a process where water molecules surround the sodium chloride in order to ionize it into sodium and chloride to neutralize it. One of the water sources for this “neutralization” process happens to be our cells and precious cell water in consumed. This leads to dehydration of body cells which can lead to tissue damage and eventual cell death.
15 Side Effects Of Table Salt
- Blood pressure: Certain factors such as being overweight, lack of exercise and, in particular, a high table salt diet can raise your blood pressure, leading to heart attacks & strokes.
- Stroke: There are 2 types of strokes: ischemic strokes, when a blood vessel becomes blocked, and haemorrhagic strokes, when a blood vessel bursts and bleeds into the brain. High blood pressure is the single most important risk factor for stroke and table salt is the major factor that raises blood pressure.
- Coronary Heart Disease: Increased intake of table salt causes thickening of blood vessel walls, forming clots, making them too narrow and reducing blood to the heart. It also leads to thickening of the heart muscle, reducing the heart’s ability to pump blood around the body, leading to heart failure.
- Stomach cancer: Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacterium causes stomach inflammation manifesting into stomach ulcers and stomach cancer. Table salt can damage the lining of the stomach, making it more vulnerable to the effects of H.pylori. It also aids the growth and action of the bacteria.
- Osteoporosis: A high table salt diet can cause calcium to be lost from bones and excreted in the urine, making bones weak, prone to breaking, and having high blood pressure just speeds up this process, worsening the problem.
- Obesity: Table salt does not cause weight gain by itself, but it does make you thirsty. If these fluids are sugary soft drinks, they can cause weight gain because of their excess energy and carbs.
- Kidney Stones and Kidney Disease: Both a high table salt intake and high blood pressure can cause too much calcium to be excreted by the kidneys into the urine, leading to calcium buildup and therefore kidney stones. People with kidney disease, or at risk due to persistent urinary tract infections or Chrohn’s disease, should reduce their table salt intake to avoid exacerbating the condition.
- Vascular Dementia: Vascular dementia is a common form of dementia that affects memory, thinking, language, judgment, and behaviour.. It is caused by a blocked blood vessel in the brain which occurs after a stroke or a series of mini strokes. Table salt increases the risk of stroke triggering this disease.
- Water Retention: The body retains up to 1.5 litres of excess water when the salt balance in the body goes north. Patients with heart failure, nephrotic syndrome and cirrhosis of the liver should take a huge cut in their daily table salt intake. Loss of water also reduces weight, making most diet plans less salty!
- Asthma: Though table salt is not a reason to causing asthma, but it does aggravate symptoms.
- Ménière’s Disease: Ménière’s is a rare disease which damages the ear and causes giddiness with nausea and vomiting, tinnitus and hearing loss. Table salt, because of its fluid retention properties, increases the pressure in the inner ear which causes and worsens the symptoms of Ménière’s.
- Diabetes: Tablesalt can raise the risk of developing diabetes by raising blood pressure. Low salt intake helps to reduce the risk of the long term complications of diabetes.
- Mineral Depletion: Table salt depletes calcium, potassium, and magnesium and is directly related to cardiovascular disease. Ingesting large amounts leads to mineral deficiency.
- Acid Formation: Due to its lack of buffering minerals, table salt becomes an acidifying substance within the body. This makes it difficult for the body to maintain its alkalinity.
- Addiction: Table salt is highly addictive and disease promoting. Even with all the table salt contained in manufactured foods, many people will add more salt to their food from a salt shaker.