The Truth about Salt


What is Salt?

Salt is a mineral that is primarily composed of sodium and chloride (NaCl) that occurs naturally in many parts of the world. In its natural form as a crystalline mineral is known as rock salt or halite, it is present in vast quantities in seawater, where it is the main mineral constituent. Salt varies in color from colorless when pure, to white, gray or brownish, which is typical of rock salt.

Salt is all around us. Underground and on the earth’s surface in the dried up residues of ancient seas. Some salt has even arrived from outer space in meteors. But our biggest source of salt is in our seas and oceans. With an average of 26 million tons per cubic kilometer, sea water offers a seemingly inexhaustible supply which, if extracted, would cover the world’s total land mass to a depth of 35 meters.

There are many different types and grades of salt and a number of different methods of production. White salt is produced by evaporating ‘solution-mined’ brine in pressure vessels and the rock salt comes from mining ancient deposits, so its purity varies depending on the type of salt (evaporated, rock, solar) and on the source.

Do you need Salt?

Salt is an important ingredient in your good health, it touches our lives more than any other natural compound. In fact, no electrolyte is more essential to human survival than salt. The sodium you get from salt is what allows nerves to send and receive electrical impulses. It is what makes your muscles stay strong. It’s what makes your brain work. It’s actually what makes every cell in your body function. Studies from the Journal of the American Medical Association show that people with the highest sodium intake have the longest lives.

Salt is one of the building blocks of a healthy body, without salt, our bodies would break down and cease to function, cell by cell. This pure mineral regulates and protects our bodies to by controlling the water content in our blood cells, keeping them in a perfect state of tension and equilibrium. It also assists in the proper function of a healthy liver and kidneys, which helps to eliminate wastes and toxins in our bodies. When there is insufficient salt in the body, many regular bodily functions cannot be carried out properly, leading to a health problems.


What if you don't get enough Salt?

Doctor Robert McCance (Professor of Experimental Medicine at the University of Cambridge) performed a 10 days trial experiment to determinate what would happen when the sodium levels dropped in the human body. He recruited four volunteers and desalinated them.

He started the process by getting the existing salt out of their body. Every day, the volunteers spent some times surrounded by heat lamps and research assistants. The former caused them to sweat, and the latter sponged up their drippings.

To make sure that no new salt entered their body, the volunteers ate vegetables that had been boiled three times over, specially-made bread, and synthetic milk. The food wasn't a pleasure to eat, but soon the volunteers lost all pleasure in eating. They lost their sense of taste. What few strong flavors managed to get through to them were altered enough to be repugnant. Onions tasted like sweet grease. Other foods, and cigarettes, tasted of nothing.

Eventually the volunteers became too exhausted to eat. As their sodium levels continued to drop, they could barely function due to fatigue. Although their vital signs seemed fine, their blood changed, becoming dark and sticky.

Today we know that the volunteers were suffering from Hyponatremia, a condition caused by consuming too little sodium or too much liquid in a short time (which flushes electrolytes out of our bodies). Without salt to regulate the water consumption of their cells, the cells were altering, filling with water and swelling up. The cells start to die without sodium intake.

Symptoms of Hyponatremia

Nausea and vomiting, Headache, Confusion, Loss of energy, Fatigue, Restlessness and irritability, Muscle weakness and spasms or cramps. If the condition is not treated, it might leads to death.

Effect of 0.9% salinity

There are various types of salts which the human body requires. Sodium chloride (NaCl, or common table salt) is required to perform a variety of essential functions. Salt helps maintain the fluid in our blood cells and is used to transmit information in our nerves and muscles. It is also used in the uptake of certain nutrients from our small intestines. The body cannot make salt and so we are reliant on food to ensure that we get the required intake. The recommendation for sodium intake is less than 2,300 mg/day for adults. This equals about one teaspoon of table salt.

Importance of right amount of salinity inside human body
  • Having too little salinity in human body will lead to a shortage of iron. As a result, red blood cells will not be created. Furthermore, this leads to a higher risk of anemia. In contrast, taking an appropriate amount of salt will prevent artery hardening and high blood pressure
  • Salinity removes impurities in stomach and supplies nutrients required for human body by helping intestinal fluid action
  • Salinity promotes metabolism that decomposes foods and excretes waste matter
  • Salinity prevents harmful substances or bacteria from entering cells or blood vessels
  • Salinity helps cells recovery
  • Salinity plays the role of maintaining the balance between acidity and alkalinity

In Conclusion

Salt is essential for life and as the body can not produce it itself, so it has to be provided. Without it, our bodies become chemically unbalanced, our muscles and nervous system cease to function and eventually we die.

Think about it, the body's need for salt is not hard to establish, anyone with a tongue noticed that the sweat and tears which came out of the body taste the same as the little crystals leftover when sea water evaporated. All of our body fluids are salty; blood, sweat, tears and saliva, and the general consensus among experts is that a healthy adult should aim towards a daily intake of Salt to maintain a good health.

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