By Julia Vinokur

Salt goes beyond a food additive. Ancient Greeks said that seawater washes away all the trouble.  Main part of the seawater is sea salt, and humans have been using sea salt since ancient times for healing and preventing disease.

Pre-civilized nomadic people hunted and gathered food and maintained their sodium levels by eating red meat rich in electrolytes, so did not need mineral salts to supplement their diet. They used the available salt as a medicine to heal wounds and as a chemical to cure hides and set dyes.

Once man became civilized and began farming, their diet changed as they grew fruits, vegetables and grains as their staple foods.  Mineral salt then became vital as a food preservative, flavor enhancer and mineral supplement to their diet.

Humans observed how sea salt was formed on the shore during dry season with the help of the sun and the wind, and started to collect it.  Salt trade became big business and trade routes were established to bring salt to major cities in exchange for slaves, gold and other valuable items.

Benefits of the sea salt:

  1. Sea salt from the ocean, and sea salt deposits have about 80 essential minerals in the most natural and easily absorbed form available. Potassium and Sodium, for example, feed our body cells and clean our body.  Sea salt also has Calcium, Manganese, Zinc, Iron, Brom, Iodine, Selenium, Cremnium, Phosphorus, Vanadium and Copper.  If you are lacking any minerals in your body, sea salt is your solution.
  2. Salt helps to regenerate body cells, to renew and rejuvenate skin and relieve stress.  It helps brain to communicate with the muscles, support the function of the adrenal glands, helps with the formation and proper function of nerve fibers, which carry impulses to and from the brain, plays an important part in the digestion of food, and is essential in making the heart beat correctly (http://realsalt.com/sea-salt/a-brief-history-of-salt).
  3. Sea salt has antiseptic and pain relief properties.  I give my children water mixed with sea salt to drink when they have stomach virus in order to speed up the healing process.  By adding approximately 1 tbs of sea salt to one glass of boiled water, you can get a wonderful solution for the neti pot.  I use this home-made solution instead of the saline drops when my children have stuffy nose.
  4. In the body, salt is as important to humans as water or air, in fact each of us contain from four to eight ounces of salt. Salt helps maintain the normal volume of blood in the body and also helps keep the correct balance of water in and around the cells and tissues.

What kind of salt to look for in the store?

4509460_mIf you go to the store, you probably can find a lot of options and brands to choose from. 

  • First of all it is very important not to buy table salt.  Table salt contains 98% of sodium chloride and 2% of man-made chemicals, such as ferrocyanide and aluminosilicate, anti-cacking agents and little added iodine.  These additives serve a useful purpose but they also inhibit the normal absorption of the sodium chloride and may be responsible for salts’ association with hypertension and hyperthyroidism.  Even the structure of processed salt is changed in the refining process, when it is dried at the temperatures above 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.  Sodium chloride in table salt has a very foreign structure to our body, making it very hard to metabolize by using a lot of energy and fluids. Natural sea salt has 84% of easily metabolized sodium chloride and 16% of other naturally occurring minerals. Sea salt is produced through the evaporation of sea water with very little processing.
  • Even sea salt can be bleached in order to have more appealing white color.  Rather look for grayish (Celtic Salt), pink (Himalayan), black (India and Pakistan origin), even multicolor (Real Salt), but not pure white.  If you see pure white salt, it means it is processed salt.
  • In my opinion, mined salt (deposited there by ancient seas, and preserved between layers of rock or other minerals) is better than salt from the surface. Mined salt was formed many-many years ago and is more likely to be unpolluted by subsequent environmental impact of mankind.  I personally like Real salt brand (http://realsalt.com/sea-salt/a-brief-history-of-salt/).

Try different sea salts with your children and see which color do they like the most.  And remember that natural sea salt is very beneficial for all the members of your family!