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SALT! What is it good for? Absolute ... actually, there are a few health benefits.

Salt as part of a healthy diet

Salt can get a pretty bad rap, but when used sensibly it plays a vital role in our overall health. Salt, scientifically known as sodium chloride, is essential for various bodily functions. However, its health benefits are best appreciated when consumed in moderation.

There are a number of Australian Salt producers, I have included links throughout the article below.

Salt comes from various sources and is harvested through different methods. Here’s an overview of where salt comes from:

1. Sea Salt

   - Evaporation of Seawater: Sea salt is produced by evaporating seawater. This method is common in coastal areas where the climate allows for natural evaporation.

   - Salt Pans: Shallow pools called salt pans are created, and seawater is allowed to flow into them. As the water evaporates under the sun, salt crystals form and are collected.

2. Rock Salt

   - Mining from Salt Deposits: Rock salt, also known as halite, is mined from underground salt deposits. These deposits are remnants of ancient seas that evaporated millions of years ago.

   - Salt Mines: Large-scale mining operations extract salt from these deposits. Famous salt mines include the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland and the Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan.

3. Solar Salt

   - Evaporation in Salterns: Solar salt is produced by evaporating brine in salterns or saltworks, similar to sea salt but can also be derived from inland saline lakes.

   - Controlled Environment: These salterns are often managed in a controlled environment to optimize salt production.

4. Vacuum Evaporation

   - Artificial Evaporation: This method involves pumping seawater or brine into large vessels where the water is evaporated under controlled conditions, usually under reduced pressure (vacuum), which lowers the boiling point.

   - High Purity: The resulting salt is often purer and can be used for various industrial applications.

5. Salt Springs and Wells

   - Brine Extraction: Salt can also be extracted from natural salt springs or wells where underground salt deposits dissolve in water, creating brine.

   - Pumping and Evaporation: The brine is pumped to the surface and evaporated to extract the salt.

6. Lake and River Sources

   - Inland Saline Lakes: Some lakes, like the Great Salt Lake in Utah, are highly saline and serve as significant sources of salt.

   - Salt Flats: Areas around these lakes, such as the Bonneville Salt Flats, contain large amounts of salt deposits formed from evaporation.

Here at Lasting Harvest, when we make an in-house blend we don't add any salt. This helps people have more control over their sodium intake as they can add salt as per their taste preference or dietary requirements.

Here are some of the key benefits of salt in the diet:

1. Maintains Fluid Balance

  • Electrolyte Balance: Salt helps maintain the balance of fluids in and out of cells, which is crucial for cellular function.

  • Hydration: It plays a role in maintaining proper hydration levels, particularly in hot weather or during intense physical activity.

2. Supports Nerve Function

  • Nerve Transmission: Sodium is vital for nerve impulses, allowing communication between the brain and other parts of the body.

  • Muscle Function: Proper sodium levels ensure muscles contract and relax effectively.

Salt as part of a healthy diet

3. Aids Digestion

  • Stomach Acid Production: Salt is necessary for the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, which aids in digestion and absorption of nutrients.

4. Regulates Blood Pressure

  • Blood Pressure Control: While excessive salt can raise blood pressure, an adequate amount helps maintain stable blood pressure levels by regulating fluid balance.

5. Supports Heart Function

  • Cardiovascular Health: Sodium plays a role in the contraction and relaxation of heart muscles, essential for maintaining a steady heartbeat. Click the link below to read more about salt and heart health.

Salt as part of a healthy diet

6. Enhances Nutrient Absorption

  • Nutrient Transport: Salt helps in the absorption and transport of nutrients in the intestines.

7. Promotes Bone Health

  • Bone Density: Sodium is involved in calcium absorption, which is crucial for maintaining strong bones.

Salt as part of a healthy diet

Recommended Intake

The recommended daily intake of salt is about 2,300 milligrams (approximately one teaspoon) for adults. Excessive consumption can lead to health issues such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and kidney problems.

While there are some natural foods that are higher in sodium than others, many processed foods, cured meats and cheeses are the ones to look out for. While salt is essential for many bodily functions, it is important to consume it in moderation to avoid adverse health effects. Balancing salt intake with a healthy diet and lifestyle is key to harnessing its benefits.

As always, talk to your health care professional if you have any health concerns or before making big changes to your diet.

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