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Salt: how much does the body need?

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 197 views

Salt is used daily in the kitchen to flavor food and is also known as a skin care product. But what does the body actually need the mineral for? Here you can read all about the properties of salt, what types there are and what the body needs it for.

How much salt a day is healthy?

“People can live without gold, but not without salt” – salt was a valuable commodity even for the ancient Romans. Officials were paid part of their salary in salt. This is where the term “salary” comes from.

Salt is vital for humans because it regulates bodily functions such as water balance. The main source of intake is sodium chloride, better known as table salt, which we get from food. However, there is also an excess of salt: in such cases, health suffers.

When it comes to nutrition, experts warn against too much salt: it leads to high blood pressure and destroys important intestinal bacteria. The German Society for Nutrition recommends six grams of salt per day, the World Health Organization only five grams. That corresponds to about one teaspoon.

The daily consumption of Europeans is eight to eleven grams per day, well above the recommended level. The reason is processed foods such as ready meals and snacks. Bread, meat, sausage and cheese also contribute to a high salt intake.

In addition, fast-food chains, restaurants and pubs are largely responsible for a high salt, fat and sugar content in the diet. We absorb about 70 percent of the salt from it, only 30 percent comes from the table.

Salt in Babies and Children

Do not add salt to food for children under nine months. For children between the ages of 18 months and three years, the recommended salt intake is two grams per day – you should not exceed this. Children between the ages of seven and ten are recommended a maximum of five grams of salt per day.

salt and high blood pressure

More than a quarter of the world’s population suffers from high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. The value of the blood pressure at rest exceeds a certain value.

High blood pressure is considered one of the greatest risk factors for cardiovascular disease. A major cause of hypertension is increased salt intake. It is therefore important, especially for people with high blood pressure, to pay attention to K consumption. An alternative is then, for example, low-sodium salt.

Because: The sodium contained in table salt determines the volume and osmotic pressure of the liquid outside the cells. If you take in more sodium, the volume of this extracellular fluid increases and with it your blood pressure.

Salt: It has this function

Too much salt is not good for the body, but neither is too little. Table salt is the primary source of sodium and chloride in the diet. Sodium and chloride are essential for certain bodily functions: they regulate our entire water balance and blood pressure. In addition, sodium chloride transmits nerve impulses and is important for the heart, bones and muscles.

And salt is good for the entire body: in Ayurveda , it is said to have a calming and stabilizing effect in the event of stress . While floating, body and soul relax in the warm salt water bath. Brine springs are a blessing for the respiratory tract, a salt peeling gently ensures soft skin. Bathing in the Dead Sea is considered a blessing for people with psoriasis.

Salt – that’s in it

Even if we use salt for seasoning – strictly speaking, salt is not a spice, but a mineral as a compound of sodium and chlorine: sodium chloride. Table salt is used in the kitchen because of its taste, but it also has preservative properties.

In addition, many salts that are commercially available are enriched with additives. The most common additions are:

  • Iodine is a vital trace element that the organism needs, for example, to produce thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency results in hypothyroidism.
  • Fluoride protects teeth from tooth decay and is therefore often added to toothpaste . In table salt, however, it cannot protect against tooth decay – the concentration is too low for that.
  • Folic acid is needed by the body for cell growth and blood formation. It protects against heart attack and stroke. However, heat destroys the water- and heat-sensitive vitamin. Therefore, only use salt enriched with folic acid after preparing the food.

Which variety is the healthiest?

Salt occurs in nature in large quantities, dissolved in seawater or as a million-year-old seawater deposit under the earth’s surface. You can get simple table salt for just a few cents in the supermarket, but there are also other types on the market.

table salt

The kitchen classic consists of refined rock salt. It is free of impurities and contains chemical anti-caking agents. Like many other salts, it is water-soluble.

rock salt

Rock salt is obtained by blasting salt chunks or by boiling salty rock. In trade, rock salt is sometimes also referred to as crystal salt when it has a crystalline form. In mineralogy, experts call such crystal salt halite.

sea ​​salt and fleur de sel

The classic sea salt is obtained by draining seawater into shallow basins and then allowing it to evaporate.

A special form of Merz salt is the so-called Fleur de Sel. It occurs on hot, windless days. The “blossom of the sea” then appears as a wafer-thin layer on the water and is scooped out by hand. It goes well with meat, fish, tomatoes or a sandwich.

Himalayan salt

It is a myth that the pink crystals come from the Himalayas. Rather, it is industrially mined in Pakistan. It is now also known as “magic salt” or “pink crystal salt”. It is ideal as a mild seasoning for rice dishes, vegetables and salads.

Hawaiian Salt

Many chefs in high-end cuisine today swear by salts from Hawaii: the red Alaea salt is sea salt mixed with clay, which is served with grilled specialties and raw fish. If you mix this with activated charcoal, the black lava salt is created. It tastes delicious with seafood, pasta and potatoes.

smoked salt

The production of sea salt and smoke goes back to the Vikings. Different woods are used depending on the region. It gives grilled dishes a special touch.

Pyramidensalz

The sea salt gets its special shape through a complex process of boiling the salt brine. It is good for seasoning meat, especially grilled.

sapphire salt

A blue coloring due to the embedded mineral sylvin and a special refraction of light make the rock salt from Iran a special rarity. Goes well with vegetables and fish and is good for blood pressure problems because of its low sodium chloride content.

pearl salt

Strong winds and high temperatures create pretty pearls of salt on African coasts. Tip: Mix in the mortar with the spices.

Reduce salt intake: this is how it works!

If you want to reduce your salt consumption for personal or health reasons, avoid processed dishes and fast food as much as possible. Your diet should consist mainly of unprocessed foods such as vegetables and fruit.

When cooking, use different spices and herbs to flavor the food. Use table salt, make sure it is enriched with iodine and fluoride.

Reduce the salt in small increments to gradually get used to the weaker salty taste.

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