Table salt varies widely in its composition and quality. Most kosher salt on the market today is made from either sand or sodium chloride. Sea salt is created by evaporating sea waters and has no chemicals added. Companies sprinkle it liberally on baked chips and salty snacks and occasionally toss a brief natural claim on the packaging. And sometimes even add a little bit of color to raise the value higher.
And then there are natural salts. Himalayan salt comes primarily from rocks in the foothills of the Hindu Gurudwaras in Nepal. Salt lamps are powered by authentic Himalayan salt and their properties have been revered since biblical times. There are also sea salts harvested off the shores of western Africa, the eastern Indian Ocean, and other places. All are harvested with care and used sparingly in food preparation.
Table salt has been found to have several benefits for those of us trying to live a healthier life. Among these is the potential to help lower high blood pressure. Scientific research has shown that naturally occurring salt can actually lower high blood pressure. In one study, high blood pressure was lowered by as much as 11 percent by using kosher salt on a daily basis. This benefit could be important to people who already have high blood pressure.
Another potential benefit of table salt comes from the process of evaporation. Evaporation occurs when water is heated so it can begin to lose moisture. The salt and water vapor is what causes table salt to have its pleasantly distinctive flavor. It can be taken as a supplement to help lower your overall sodium intake because evaporation increases the levels of sodium leaving your body.
The addition of trace amounts of magnesium and potassium to table salt may help you lose weight. These trace amounts are naturally found in sea salt and other foods. However, scientists have shown that certain types of sea salt contain more trace amounts of magnesium and potassium than others. The best option is to choose a brand that contains the highest amounts of these trace minerals. Many consumers choose bran products for this reason. Some foods contain only trace amounts of magnesium and potassium, while others, such as popcorn and wafers, contain even less.
Processed table salt has also been shown to increase the risk of developing colon cancer. For many years, scientists have speculated that diet may play a role in colon cancer. In response to this research, the government and major manufacturers have pushed for increased processing. Although processed table salt has many benefits for those of us trying to live a healthier lifestyle, there are drawbacks. Processed salts tend to taste bland and have a dry chemical taste that makes many people who cannot tolerate processed foods olfact just by taking a few bites.
One of the largest drawbacks associated with heavily processed table salt is its effect on blood pressure. High amounts of table salt can lower blood pressure and increase heart rate. Research has demonstrated that blood pressure levels rise more quickly in individuals using processed foods than in those who eat a healthy diet. Many scientists believe this is due to mineral deficiencies.
Limestone is one of the oldest naturally occurring minerals. This is used to create table salt and it is a sedimentary rock composed of silica, calcium, carbonate, and sulfur. Limestone is very stable and is formed by nature's wind and is not subject to man-made environmental influences. Although limestone mining has caused the depletion of many naturally occurring minerals, modern technology has created ways to replenish these deposits. The most common method of replenishing limestone is by using high-pressure or flash water sanding processes that chemically change the minerals to sodium and then recondition the sand.