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Salt Good or Bad for Health?

Salt or table salt as it is better known is one of the most common minerals in nature, is composed of mostly sodium and chloride. There are a few types of salt:

  1. Unrefined salt (such as sea salt)
  2. refined salt (plain old table salt)
  3. iodized salt.

Salt plays an important role in our lives from seasoning our food to very important metabolic effects in our body, effects that we are unaware of at first glance.

Table salt is basically salt extracted from mines and purified before being sold. This, as general conception seems good and healthy but in order to keep salt from clumping up, the companies that do this process need to add a few more chemicals to the mixture, one of this being E536, a chemical that is high up on the cancer giving chemicals list.

Sea salt (which is one of the most common unrefined salts) seems to be thus the better choice since it has no added chemicals making it natural and healthy, but is it so? Sea salt generally contains calcium and magnesium next to the normal sodium and chloride thus making it slightly bitter. What most people don’t know is that sea salt can also lead to the formation of gout, a disease in which uric acid levels grow beyond normal and start to form crystals within tendons and articulations leading to pain and severe damage.

Iodized salt is basically normal kitchen salt with extra iodine in order to prevent iodine deficiency disease, a disease that can lead to cretinism. Basically, the body does not have enough iodine to produce thyroid hormones and therefore the nervous system cannot develop normally.

We have discussed so far about the types of salt that you can find out there and some of the effects that can recur from their composition. But plain salt (NaCl), if it existed without any other chemicals would still have some effects on our bodies. These long term effects would be: stroke, high blood pressure, edema and stomach cancer. Of course, not all the effects are bad, sodium (Na) is a very important micronutrient for the human body. All the cells in our body have sodium pumps or sodium exchangers thus making sodium very important as long as it is kept within normal boundaries.

In conclusion, try to add les salt to food you prepare knowing that most products on the market already contain it and there is no need for more. Also, if you prefer sea salt remember to use as little as possible always and don’t forget to complete your diet with iodine in order to give your thyroid the necessary elements for creating hormones.

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