Salt - An Ingredient Used Everyday
Speaking of Salt
Salt gets such a bad rap in regards to health. When used in moderation, unless you are on a totally salt free diet, salt does bring out the natural flavors in many foods.
Our bodies need salt for our muscles, our hearts, to think and for our memory.
The three basic types of salt are table, sea salt, and rock salt.
Salt And Your Health
Salt that is mined and unrefined contains magnesium and potassium, which the body needs to help metabolize the sodium.
The main ingredient in salt is sodium chloride, which in small amounts is essential for all animals.
Iodine was added to table salt originally to prevent goiters. Iodine is needed in order to keep your thyroid in good working condition.
If one does not get enough iodine when pregnant the brain development in the fetus can be compromised. Iodine supplements can be taken if table salt is not being used.
Too much or too little salt in ones diet can cause muscle cramps, dizziness, problems in the nervous system and even death.
Salt and Health Problems
There are many health problems that can be linked to overuse of salt such as stoke, high blood pressure, ulcers, indigestion problems just to name a few.
In North America the recommended amount of sodium per day should not exceed 2300 milligrams. Most people consume a much higher amount of sodium than what is recommended for a well-balanced healthy diet.
In ¼ teaspoon of table salt there is 570 milligrams of sodium
Sea Salt, Table, and Rock Salt
Sea Salt and table salt both have sodium and chloride.
The only real difference between the two is in the taste and texture.
Sea salt is from evaporated seawater where as table salt is mined from underground salt deposits.
There is a small amount of iodine in sea salt however it is not enough for what your body needs. If all you use is sea salt, you can eat fish once a week to make sure you are getting the required amount of iodine in your diet.
Rock salt is mainly used industrially that is sold in very large bags for melting ice on roads during the winter. This salt is not normally used in cooking, as it takes too long to dissolve, as it is in very large crystals.
The many colors and textures of salt
Salt comes in many colors, and textures. Coarse, fine and Fleur de Sel are all types of salt just with different crystal forms.
Other salts include:
- kosher salt
- bamboo salt
- pickling salt
- black salt
- Hawaiian salt
- finishing salt
- French sea salt
- grey salt
- grinder salt
- Italian sea salt
- organic salt
- smoked sea salt
Salt and Cooking Tips
- When cooking meat you should not salt it before it has started to cook. Why? Salt will make the meat lose its juices causing it to become dry and less tasty.
- To obtain a nice golden color to pan fried potatoes cook them with salt.
- Adding salt to the water while cooking cauliflower will keep it from discoloring.
- Salted water when cooking vegetables prevents the vegetables mineral salts from escaping.
- If strawberries are not quite ripe add a few grains of salt.
- Salt shaken on cucumbers will make them more digestible.
- Salt added to water while boiling eggs will make them easier to peel.