Pass The Salt
With cooling weather, falling leaves animals preparing for hibernation, plants retreating underground and darkness arriving earlier, nature has begun its preparation for winter.
Meanwhile inside, in the comfort of my own kitchen, the salt shaker has made a reappearance on the dinner table…
Salt carries a contractive/grounding energy that coincides with the ‘downward and inward’ natural direction of the season. As the body redirects its energy for the winter, small amounts of high quality salt can be supportive for winter health.
Not all salts are created equally.
The salt we are most commonly consume is iodized table salt. This salt is a commercially refined table salt that has been heated to such high temperatures that the chemical structure of the salt has mutated from its natural state. It is chemically cleaned, bleached, and treated with anti-caking agents. (That’s why it pours so easily.) Common anti-caking agents used in the mass production of salt are sodium alumino-silicate and alumino-calcium silicate. Both are sources of aluminum, a heavy metal that has been implicated in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
During the refining of table salt, mined natural sea salt or rock salt is stripped of more than 60 trace minerals and essential macro-nutrients. Refined salt is similar to refined sugar in the sense that they have both been stripped of their nutrients and are concentrated to a degree that throws the body off balance.
To avoid refined salt, minimize the consumption of processed foods (especially soups and microwave dinners), many of which are extremely high in refined salt which is added as a preservative. Furthermore, forget about the salt shakers at most restaurants and switch the salt you cook with at home.
The best salts to purchase are sea salt. There are many on the market, from plain old sea salt to fleur de sel, gray french sea salt, and Hawaiian sea salt. Many are coarse, but you can grind them to make them fine.
Using a coarse salt, you will most likely need to use less of it to reach your desired flavor. It is best to add salt at the end of the cooking process to maintain its mineral contents as well as to minimize the amount needed.
I most commonly use Himalayan pink salt, considered the highest grade of natural salt; it contains 84 elements and helps your body maintain a healthy electrolyte balance. You can even add a pinch to filtered water, along with the juice of a lemon, for a natural sports energy drink post-workout.
Natural sea salts promote health and can aid your body in maintaining normal blood pressure.
The importance of Iodine:
Refined salt is usually fortified with iodine, which is responsible for many of the body’s health functions including thyroid support (iodine is needed for under active or hypothyroid), fighting infection, and helping the body fend off cancer and mood instability. Severe lack of iodine causes goiter (swelling of the thyroid in the neck), a result of the thyroid gland swelling.
Iodine deficiency can show up in the body as fatigue, foggy thinking, cold hands and feet, dry skin, thin hair, and constipation. If you suspect you might be deficient, ask you doctor to run the 24 hour urinary iodine load test or click here for Dr. Douillard’s mail in test
Natural Sources of Iodine:
We do not get enough iodine from high quality sea salt since much of it is lost during packaging and transportation of the product. However there is no need to seek out iodine artificially as an additive. Be sure to incorporate natural sources of iodine from the following foods:
- Sea Veggies: The number one source of iodine in food, kelp is the superstar (also available in capsules for a more vigorous treatment).
- Fish: Pacific cod, Atlantic sea bass, black perch and Atlantic haddock are fish high in iodine.
- Animal Foods: Animal foods such as turkey, chicken, high quality dairy and eggs are a decent source.
- Other: Baked potatoes with skin and legumes can contain some iodine.
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