Take it all with a grain of salt

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Salt is born of the purest parents, the sun and the sea; so says Pythagoras. But not all salt is the same.

Salt is a natural mineral made up of white cube-shaped crystals composed of two elements, sodium and chloride. Natural, unrefined sea salt contains trace amounts of up to eighty essential minerals for the body whereas refined table salt contains about two. Table salt is produced by taking impure rock salt and drying it in a kiln, which alters its chemical structure by reducing it to sodium chloride. Most natural sea salt is naturally harvested and dried by the sun where it retains its natural goodness and composition.

The discovery of salt thousands of years ago impacted human lives, not only through its use in food consumption, preservation and agriculture, but also through religious practices. It connects us to the Earth and each other in many ways. There are over 30 references to salt in the Bible, and many cultures still believe it represents purity and repels evil (throwing salt over our left shoulder). Some Europeans still throw salt in the coffins of loved ones to keep the devil away.

Every cell in our body contains salt and it performs a vital role in our overall health. It regulates fluids, carries carbon dioxide to our lungs, transmits electrical impulses between our vital organs, and it supports thyroid function – not to mention it makes our food taste better. Humans are made up of about 72-percent water and 28-percent organic materials. Maintaining that balance is crucial to our overall health and that balance is kept in check by unrefined natural mineral salts. Yet the debate continues as to how much is too much.

Too much is harmful to our health, and yet too little salt can result in hyponatremia, which can result in lethargy, confusion, headaches and even death.

So the next time you feel conflicted about how much is too much remember, as with everything we hear, take it all with a grain of salt.