Salt is a very common addition to our foods, but often misunderstood. Salt comes in several different forms and there is a hierarchy as to quality. So what is salt.
Salt (sodium chloride) it a necessary electrolyte in our body. It is necessary for proper body function. Salt is used in several ways:
2. flavor enhancer
3. to supress bitterness
4. increase aroma
Salt should not be a flavor that you taste. Salt should help to enhance the natural flavors of the food that you are eating.
Which salt to choose:
1. Commercial table salt
This is typically iodized salt which has been highly processed which removes many of the naturally occuring minerals. Often iodine is added back into the salt. Also there is anti-caking agents, sugar and preservatives added to it as well. There is often not any potassium which is another very important electrolyte that works in conjuction with sodium for proper body functions. This leads to a misbalance in the electrolytes. I would not use this salt in any function.
2. Kosher salt
This salt is made by Jewish laws and is not processed very much at all. There are also no additives. This is often used in the kithchen as an ingredient. This is better than the above because it does not have additives, however it does not have the mineral content of the sea salts. I would use this salt in my cooking.
3. Unrefined sea salt
Sea salts are the salts of choice. There are several different kinds of these salts such as: Celtic Sea Salt, Himalayan Sea Salt and Fleur de Col Sea Salt. All of these comes from different sources and will be different colors. These salts are not refined at all, have no iodine and do contain a high amount of minerals. Sea salts are either from the ocean and dried or are mined from previous ocean beds. The different colors of sea salt are normal. The colors change based upon the mineral content. All of these salts are very good and are often used as finishing salts in the culinary world. Sea salt has a range of prices. I would use any sea salt regularly in my cooking. I place a small amount of salt into my filtered water that I keep in order to replace the good minerals in my water. If you do just a small amount you can not taste the salt.
Salt reduction techniques
There are several ways to reduce the consumption of salt. Todays American diet is very heavy in processed food and salt. This leads to a decrease in the ability to actually taste our foods. Once you remove yourself from the standard american diet you will begin to taste your food again.
1. Spice things up – use more herbs and spices
2. No Salt (Potassium) – this is a salt replacement product that does not use Sodium.
3. Use less ingredients that are high in salt content (soy sauce…etc)
4. Do not eat processed food – processed food has a very high amount of sodium in it
5. Eat more fruits and vegetables
6. Sleep regularly
7. Reduce sugar intake
Often times salt cravings are because of decreased renal function, hormone imbalance or too much sugar in your diet. While eating properly can lead to many improved health outcomes you should always inform your Doctor of any potential medical issues.
While I do not think you should eat copious amounts of salt, this following article by Dr Mercola makes a strong argument that you should not be worried about eating high quality salts.