Ibn al-Qayyim in his Prophetic Medicine said regarding salt:
“Salt preserves man’s food, guards his body and improves everything it is mixed with …It contains powers to cleanse and dissolve, and expel the thick moistures and dry them up, to strengthen bodies and prevent their putrefaction and corruption,” and “It cleanses the teeth, expels decay from them, firms and strengthens the gums. Its benefits are numerous.”
This is what real salt looks like—and it’s not like the regular white salt that most of us are used to seeing— we mistakenly think that salt is all the same when it is not. The fact is that refined white salt, such as commercial table salt is bad stuff. Unrefined natural salt on the other hand, provides many health benefits and is in fact, vital for better health.
What Is Salt and Why We Need It
Salt is high in sodium, and sodium is essential for proper absorption of other major nutrients and functioning of nerves and muscles, as well as being necessary for balancing water and minerals in the body.
The body uses high mineral salts to create electrolytes. Electrolytes carry electrical currents throughout the body – sending messages and instructions to cells in all bodily systems. Electrolytes are also necessary for enzyme production, which are responsible for breaking down food, absorbing nutrients, muscle function, hormone production and more. Electrolytes and enzymes are also linked to healthy immune function, proper regulation of bodily fluids, and adrenal health.
Without appropriate amounts of sodium, your body may have a difficult time cooling down after intense exercise or activity. When the body is hot, you sweat. If you do not have enough sodium, your body may not sweat as much and you may then become overheated. This could result in a stroke or exhaustion as well as dehydration.
Excess sodium (such as that obtained from dietary sources) is excreted in the urine. Most of the sodium in the body (about 85%) is found in blood and lymph fluid. Sodium levels in the body are partly controlled by a hormone called aldosterone, which is made by the adrenal glands. Aldosterone levels determine whether the kidneys hold sodium in the body or pass it into the urine.
The Difference between Refined and Unrefined Salt
Table salt- the salt commonly found in every processed/preserved product- consists of 97.5% sodium chloride and 2.5% chemicals such as aluminum, ferrocyanide, bleach and iodine. These are anti-caking agents whose role is to prevent the salt from mixing with water, in the box or within the human body.
The salt is then dried at very high temperatures and the excessive heat alters the natural chemical structure of the salt, causing the potential for health problems in the body.
What results after this cleaning process is sodium chloride – an unnatural chemical form of salt with almost none of the vital minerals that real, unrefined salt has.
Typical table salt crystals are totally isolated from each other, and in order for the body to try to metabolize table salt crystals, it must sacrifice tremendous amounts of energy.
Water molecules must surround the sodium chloride to break them up into sodium and chloride ions in order to help the body neutralize them. This can result in dehydrated cells, and upset fluid balance, constantly overburdening your elimination systems, which can impair your health.
Unrefined salt, on the other hand, contains no toxins and over 84 minerals and elements necessary for optimal health. Unrefined, pure salt looks distinctly different from refined salt; it is usually off-white, pink or gray in color and is courser than traditional salt. However, some sea salts available are bright white in color, and this is a result of partial processing and bleaching, so avoid sea salt that is too white and fine.
All of the medical and scientific studies on the health hazards of salt have examined only refined white salt, a biologically damaging, unnatural substance. But numerous studies now indicate that a balance of minerals is necessary and more beneficial than eliminating sodium altogether.
The blood-pressure-raising effect of table salt can be due to its high content of sodium with not enough magnesium to balance it. This has a magnesium-lowering effect that can constrict the arteries and raise blood pressure. Real salt (of various kinds) contains plenty of magnesium and other important minerals, which is why it usually does not affect blood pressure in a negative way.
Always Choose Pure Unrefined Salt
Salt in its unprocessed, pure form, has a full complement of minerals. It should be the salt of choice.
Both Celtic Sea Salt and Himalayan salt are pure, unprocessed salts, not exposed to the refinement and bleaching used to manufacture typical table salt, and they contain no additives.
Himalayan crystal salt, for example, offers all the natural elements exactly identical to the elements in the body.
The elements trapped within the Himalayan salt are in particles small enough to be easily absorbed by the body, making Himalayan crystal salt one of nature’s most effective health balancers.
Naturally pink in color, Himalayan salt is the purest salt available on earth and remains in its original form, uncontaminated with toxins or pollutants. It does not use heat treatment or refining methods to extract it; instead it is mined without explosives to preserve the structures of the crystals, and is washed by hand and sun-dried.
Unrefined sea salt is also an excellent alternative to table salt and is readily available.