When I used to eat more processed and packaged foods, I often look for "low sodium" or "low salt" or even "no salt" options. I think of high blood pressure, heart attack, and other cardiovascular diseases when I think of salt. Salt is bad for our health. Or is it not?
If salt is not good for us, why would hospitals start an IV drip of pure salt water for their patients? And why was salt highly priced in the olden days? Do you know that salt was heavily taxed, fought over in wars, minted into coins as basic currency, and valued as gold where there was salt scarcity? And you may have read from the Bible "You are the salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13), and "Let you speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person" (Colossians 4:6). Why does the Bible use salt as metaphors if it is a bad thing?
The truth is everyone needs salt. It is essential for our health. It regulates the water level in our body, serves as electrolytes to maintain hydration and plays and important role in our nervous system to help cells communicate and transport nutrients into cells.
Types of Salt
|Unrefined sea salt is not white|
Types of Salt
Refined Sea Salt
When people say salt is bad for us, they are referring to the refined, de-mineralized substance that is full of additives, anti-caking agents, bleach, and other chemicals commonly called as the table salt. If you ever wonder why salt is uniformly shaped and white in color, it's because they are processed and bleached. They are mostly sodium chloride and contain no trace minerals (that's why you see salt with iodine added to make up for the lost minerals). Refined salt is not good for us. It is the reason why people are experiencing high blood pressure and other serious diseases - they are consuming the wrong kind of salt!
Unrefined Sea Salt
It is just how God made it. Natural, unprocessed salt is full of trace minerals and electrolytes with no added additives and toxic chemicals. The natural sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus found in unrefined sea salt are vital for proper body functions, even though we need them in small amounts. They are made of unformed crystals and are earthy in color (not uniformly shaped and white!).
A Note on Iodine
The added iodine in iodized salt is harder to absorb than natural iodine in unrefined salt, a reason why many people are still suffering from thyroid problems although iodized salt is widely available. That said, we may not get all the iodine we need for our daily intake just from unrefined sea salt alone. But we're not to depend on only one kind of food to give us a certain nutrient anyway. Other good sources of iodine include seaweed, potatoes, strawberries, and dairy products.
How to Avoid Refined Sea Salt?
- The best way to avoid refined sea salt is to stop eating packaged and processed food. They are full of all kinds of refined sodium - sodium chloride, sodium nitrate, sodium benzoate, and the notorious monosodium glutamate (MSG).
- Check the ingredient label! Not all sea salt is unrefined. All salt technically originated from sea and thus companies can legally name their salt "sea salt." Check the label to make sure it contains 100% natural unrefined sea salt and nothing else.
As for our family, we have now replaced our "white" salt with only unrefined sea salt. We use the brand Real Salt. The website also has many articles about salt if you wish to learn more. Let our taste buds be our guide as to how much salt we need. We are happy that we can enjoy salt in our home cooking knowing that not only it is good for us, but it tastes good as well!
In Singapore, you can buy Real Salt from:
- Super Nature
- Four Seasons Organic Market at Parkway Parade (they have other branches in Great World City and City Square Mall, you may also check organic shops in your area for availability).
- iHerb (for first time customers, use my affiliate code RKF401 to get $5 off $20 purchase or $10 off $40 purchase)
If you are in Jakarta, you can buy it online here. Ranch 99 and Hero carry it as well but when I went there, they were out of stock.
Going forward I will also add seaweed (kombu) to my cooking, especially soups (for iodine). Kombu is usually sold in Japanese supermarkets.
What is your favorite kind of salt? Do you know any other good brand of unrefined sea salt that are sold in Singapore? (It will be a good resource for everyone here)
Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link.