Salt is one of the oldest and most common food additives in the world. Even in primitive cultures, those far from the ocean would burn sodium-rich grasses and mix the salty ash into their food. Not only does it make our favorite dishes tastier, but unrefined salt contains essential nutrients like calcium, chloride, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and zinc. So why does salt get such a bad rap? Jordan Rubin explains in his book Restoring Your Digestive Health that conventional table salt like the kind you buy in most stores is processed. Aluminum compounds are added to keep the salt dry. The trace minerals and iodine salts that occur naturally in sea salt are removed during processing. To make the salt a pristine white, it is exposed to bleaching agents. It’s no wonder why too much of that processed table salt would cause health problems.
Dr. David Brownstein says that an adequate amount of healthy salt (unrefined salt) is vital for the adrenal glands to optimally function. An excess of refined salt will lead to a state of depleted minerals and, ultimately, adrenal exhaustion. The consequences of adrenal exhaustion include fatigue, a poorly functioning immune system, cancer, thyroid disorders, obesity, arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune disorders, and many other chronic illnesses. Way to scare us Doc Brown!
Now, we can take supplements to get our vitamins and minerals, but natural salt is such an easy–and tasty–way to get those minerals. Personally, I prefer light grey salt because it’s a little more flavorful and is more nutritious than fine ground sea salt or fleur de sel. Some of you might be asking, “but how will I get iodine if it’s not added to my salt? I don’t want a goiter on my face!” Don’t worry. Natural sea salt is high in organic iodine from plants and (this is so cool) tiny skeletons of ancient marine life.
And natural salt isn’t just great for eating: you can do so many cool things with it! Soak in a tub of warm water and 1-2 cups of unrefined salt and it will stimulate your lymph system, help remove toxins from your skin, and relieve aches and pains. Cover a bee sting or insect bite with warm salt paste and it will ease the itching. Prevent muscle cramps and help muscle recovery by taking a pinch of salt with water before and after a workout. Stuffy nose? Mix 1/4 tsp salt with 1/4 tsp baking soda in 8 oz pure water and use as a nasal spray. It’s antibacterial, lubricating, and even has antihistamine properties.
To get you started on your salty new diet, here’s one of my favorite easy veggie dinners:
Black Rice with Mediterranean Veggies
-2 c cooked black rice (great source of antioxidants!)
-Your favorite veggies chopped in 1-2 inch pieces (my favorites are mushrooms, peppers, vidalia onions, and zucchini)
-3 T lemon juice
-3 T extra virgin olive oil
Rub your favorite veggies with lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and sea salt mixture. Skewer and grill, or saute in some of your rubbing mixture, then serve over prepared rice. Tip: when preparing rice, add a large pinch of salt to boiling water. This will season the rice better than sprinkling salt on it after cooking. Serve with a tall glass of tomato juice (I shake cayenne pepper into mine) rimmed with Celtic Sea Salt’s Celery Salt.
Now you’re salty and savvy!