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Sea Salt, For Better Health

"Sea salt" or "solar salt" is harvested directly from an ocean or sea, usually by channeling sea water into large trays and allowing the sun and wind to evaporate it naturally. Sea salt still contains traces of minerals including iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc, and iodine, while common table salt is mined from large salt flats from which some minerals washed away and contaminates may have entered. Proponents of sea salt rave about its bright, pure, clean flavor, and about the subtleties attributed to its trace minerals. It takes LESS sea salt to attain the same level of saltiness in food; since its finer granules dissolve quicker on the tongue and quickly send the signal “enough salt” to the brain. Therefore, using real sea salt results in approximately 16% LESS SODIUM INTAKE than using common table salt.

Those who have not replaced processed common table salt with organic sea salts do not yet realize that, like all spices, different salts provide different flavors. Each salt has its unique taste due to its mix of minerals and crystal variations. The selection of salt is an important decision of some of the world's great chefs and finest restaurants. They pay more for better ingredients that yield better taste, and fine sea salts are often at least one of their "secret ingredients”. Diversity in salt selection also prevents all their food from tasting the same.

Our sea salt is harvested from the Pacific Ocean, as opposed to sea salt from the coastal areas of foreign countries along the Mediterranean Sea, North Sea, and Atlantic Ocean. Nothing appears wrong with those waters, but US FDA regulations govern American food grade sea salt, while sea salt of foreign origin may not approach the standards of US FDA Food Grade.

There are several authentic sea salts, but also hundreds of lesser quality or even bogus sea salts. Some falsely advertise that spicing and/or treatment of the salt was done to affect its flavor. A lot of French sea salts don't even include actual sea salt at all, and there is no such thing as natural "Celtic" or "smoked" sea salt.

The most fundamental and highly used spice is salt. While excessive salt intake is harmful, having no salt isn't wise since salt is a natural adversary to fungus, bacteria, and viruses. Medical studies reveal many health benefits in switching from common table salt to sea salt, mostly due to decreased sodium content. Aside from better taste, reducing sodium in your diet by switching to sea salt improves chances of avoiding heart and circulatory problems. If you already have those problems, you'll be doing something about it. So live long, my friends, and bon appetit ! Be sure to also try our several blends of Cajun Seasoning, all dedicated to including this high quality sea salt.

Salt Trivia

Most sea salts are heavier for the volume than table salt due to the high mineral content.

Salt is the original preservative dating back through all of recorded history. Until refrigeration, salting was the only means to preserve meat and seafood. To this day, salting is the method of preserving meat without refrigeration. It's the reason most beef jerky will taste salty.

Salt was also the first antiseptic and salt water the first mouthwash. To this day, gargling with salt water is often recommended for a sore throat. Salt is an organic natural biocide that will kill germs.

Time to time, reports are given on cultures within which people live to the oldest ages. Numerous reasons and explanations of lifestyle and diet are offered; however, for all of these cultures, you will likely find common factors: 1) their diet or water will likely have a very high mineral content and 2) their source of salt is sea water, not mined salt.

Which would last longer - a wooden ship in a freshwater lake or in seawater? While both would quickly accumulate fouling on the hull exterior below the water, the wooden ship in fresh water would rot many, many times faster than in seawater. In the age of the wooden clipper ships, the method of reducing the rate of wood rot was to literally spray seawater upon the interior surfaces of the ship's hull. Wood rot is due to microorganisms, not algae or barnacles.
 
If salt consumption is necessary, why do doctors recommend reducing salt intake and why is drinking sea water lethal?
Excessive amounts of salt raise a person's blood pressure, which leads to a good reason to replace mined salt with sea salt. Sea salt is saltier in taste than mined salt, so it takes less salt to satisfy the consumer.

Greatly excessive salt intake is lethal because the human body can only process so much salt at a time. Salt is a very powerful biocide. If too much salt builds up in your body, it becomes harmful and even lethal, not dissimilar to food intake. Your body can only process and use so much food at a time. Too much food is damaging. Too little food will lead to poor health, and starvation eventually leads to death.
If I take a vitamin/mineral pill, will I receive the same mineral benefits as from sea salt?
Vitamin/mineral pills usually only have a short list of minerals. Sea salt generally contains the majority of minerals, including trace minerals. It is the lack of trace minerals that is most common to people's diets today, because commercial agricultural land is essentially devoid of minerals. Minerals removed from the soil by plants do not replace themselves. When minerals are depleted, they are depleted basically forever unless the land is flooded occasionally with mineral rich water, which is not likely to happen naturally. The reason oceans are salty is due to minerals, including salt, continually being washed off of land and into the oceans. When water evaporates from the ocean and produces rain, the salt and minerals remain in the ocean. Therefore, across the eons, oceans have become saltier and obtained higher mineral content. With each generation of crops, agricultural land loses more of its mineral content.
Can I obtain sufficient minerals in foods selected at a grocery store?
No. Vitamins may be obtained from fruit and vegetables, but plants cannot contain minerals unless minerals are in the land they grow in. According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, commercial agricultural land has been largely devoid of minerals since the 1950's, so fruit and vegetables in the grocery store also largely devoid of minerals. An added benefit of obtaining minerals from sea salt is that the minerals are highly broken down, making them more easily absorbed at the cellular level.
Does all salt taste the same?
No. All pure sodium chloride should taste identical, but neither mined “table salts” or sea salts will taste identical. Sea salts each have their own unique blend of minerals and molecular structures inherent to their organic origins. Different sea salts will likely have their own unique taste and flavor.
Why isn't sea salt used in prepared food (restaurants, grocery store foods, etc)?
Huge amounts of mined salt are used by fast food restaurants and in virtually all processing of grocery store products. The reason is simple. Mined salt is significantly cheaper. As consumers we have fewer healthy choices in either restaurant or grocery products because the standards lean towards the cheapest production costs. While it would sometimes only add minimal cost to offer truly nutritious and healthy ingredients, consumers in America are largely indifferent to ingredients. That enables food producers to consider using the cheapest possible ingredients. Add the need to constantly compete price-wise, and there you have it. While some restaurants and grocery stores may even advertise themselves as health oriented, many of them will be paying more attention to cheaper production costs.

Sadly, most people have less than healthy practices in their own kitchens as well. Buying good ground wheat bread rather than highly refined flour bread, using olive oil rather than cheap vegetable oil, and using high mineral content sea salt rather than regular mined salt should not increase total food costs by more than 3% or so. Switching to organically grown vegetables and leaner higher quality meats might not increase food costs more than 15%, and should vastly improve a person's health, state of mind, and well being. A good book comes to mind: You Are What You Eat by Adel Davis.

The kitchen and dining together used to be at the heart of family living. For most people now it is only an afterthought and a question of convenience. A number of folks drive through the fast-food lane for a burger and toss a dinner in the microwave. It seems that after someone determines he or she will compromise, it eventually leads to just giving up. Small adjustments - using high mineral content sea salt, olive oil, good bread, etc - starts to tip the health scale more into a person’s favor. It’s not hard to adjust basic ingredients most often used. These are: 1) good pure water (not tap water). 2) sea salt rather than mined salt, 3) stone ground wheat or other grain based bread, and 4) olive oil. If one makes a habit of these basic changes, he or she will probably go on to further improvements. Buying the cheapest ingredients possible, as well as marketing and consumer indifference, are the reasons our diets have become so unhealthy.
What is mined salt?
The world has many locations of huge salt deposits. For example, most have heard of the "Bonneville Salt Flats" her in the USA. A lot of processed salt comes from similar surface mines. Water leaches and washes away the minerals and other contents. Processing includes washing the salt to insure it’s clean, since surface salt is exposed to contamination. That washing process will wash away most of whatever minerals and other beneficial ingredients the salt may have had left. Finally, the mined salt is dried under very high heat, destroy what little was left of organic sourced molecular structures. Then the mined salt is ground into either coarse or fine crystals.
How is sea salt produced?
Sea salt is produced in various ways. Ocean sea salt is produced either by solar (sun) drying or artificial heat drying. The water is filtered to remove contaminates and then dried in ponds. Minerals are too fine to be filtered out, so they remain. When dry, sea salt is the ground to the desired grain size.
If the label says "sea salt,” but does not identify the source, what is it?
Some sea salt is the result of artificial drying and it may likely be the by-product of desalination of seawater to produce drinking water. In many areas of the world, water is obtained from large desalination factories fed by ocean water. As this “sea salt” is only a by-product of water production, it is sold cheaply.

Sea salt processed in this way should be the least desirable sea salt for many reasons. It may not be filtered other than just enough to remove large objects, so the salt is potentially highly contaminated. To remove this contamination, it may then be processed in a manner similar to processing of regular mined salt. Though maybe still technically "sea salt," it has very little more value than regular mined salt. If you see a much cheaper "sea salt" in the grocery store or see an Internet listing for discount "sea salt" without details, it may likely be not much different than regular mined salt.
Is all sea salt dry?
Some sea salts are dried only to the degree of being pasty like toothpaste. This seems to be a new trendy way to offer some sea salts to prove that it is not mined salt. Actually, that’s not proof at all. Any salt could be made pasty by adding water; however, there are people that fall for this and enjoy doing the final step of drying the “sea salt” themselves. What they may not realize is, buying on the basis of weight, they’re paying for the water.
What is smoked salt?
Smoked salt is a gimmick, as are other artificially "enhanced" salts. Any spices, chemicals, etc can be added to salt, and it’s generally done to justify radically increasing the price or to claim some unique quality. Smoked salt is allegedly salt exposed to smoke residue from a fire, although some are known to have sprayed favored and colored water on salt and passed it off as "smoked". Using so little salt at any one serving, what's the use of doing stuff like that? Nothing.
Can I tell a difference after switching to sea salt?
Most people find a difference. You may first notice a slight difference in taste or, depending on the salt, maybe a larger difference. You will likely use less salt on average, since sea salt is saltier than common mined salt. Sea salt might become a little addictive at first. Your body knows what it wants and likes. You may find yourself replacing sweet snacks with ones to sprinkle salt on, for the salt, especially if your body is very mineral deficient. The urge declines as those minerals are restored. When people switch to sea salt, they seldom go back to common mined salt, and sea salt is the least expensive of all "health food ingredients."
What’s the least known example of food preservation by salt?
Eggs are the least realized example. A lot of people on this planet don’t have refrigerators. Salt preservation of meat and fish is well known but yes, salt can also used for preservation of eggs. Do you know that in some places on this planet it is literally illegal for egg producers, transporters and grocery stores to refrigerate eggs? Why? An egg is a living organism and refrigeration kills all the living, natural defenses within the egg. Once refrigerated, an egg can rot in less than a day, unless it is kept refrigerated. If never refrigerated, an egg will last for many days. Without heat, though, the egg will die within a few days. Once the egg dies, an invasion by fungus and bacteria sets in. Contamination of an egg is from the outside through the shell. I won’t go into the “how,” since I don’t want to be responsible for someone getting sick by messing it up, but there is a method, used in other countries primarily, to preserve eggs in salt.
How about food preservation? What’s the story about canning of foods, and the salt in canned goods today?
Spoiling of food is usually not due to age or heat, but to external contamination. Food preservation is largely based upon stopping or slowing the growth and contamination of the food by fungus and bacteria. Refrigeration slows the grown of bacteria and fungus. Freezing virtually eliminates bacteria and fungus growth.

Canning food was invented by French troops under Napoleon, and quite by accident. Hot spicy stew was poured into French wine bottles to transport it. They found the stew did not spoil for days, weeks and even months. This was a stunning discovery that was the invention of canned foods. The boiling of the stew had sterilized it nearly perfectly. The stew was salty. Being sealed in the wine bottle, no bacteria or fungus could contaminate the contents and the salt also inhibited the growth of bacteria. The contents lasted for quite a while, though the breakdown of the contents in water caused it to lose its taste and food quality.

It is hard to imagine how people stored food prior to refrigerators. That knowledge is lost to most people. Food preservation is based foremost upon 1) heat - to kill micro-organisms already in the food 2) avoid damage/bruising vegetables/fruit/meat 3) drying - to eliminate the water that many micro-organisms need, and 4) salt , a natural biocide against bacteria and fungus. It appears unfortunate that many food processors and canners now resort to using harmful chemicals to reduce canning costs. It should not be necessary and allegedly only saves pennies on each item. However, processed salt also remains the most popular food preservative. Over a fourth of a 2500 mg daily salt allowance may be contained in an average 15 oz. canned good that includes salt as a preservative.
What is the shelf life of sea salt?
Also long as it is kept dry, probably 10 million years – though I don't plan on checking that out. As salt is a hydroscopic material (now there’s a $50 word), it tends to absorb moisture from the air and form larger crystal structures. Don’t fret, though, since it’s still usable. Caked salt can be reground to the desired grain size, and would still dissolve if stirred into a liquid recipe. Salt does not decay and is highly resistant to any microorganism contamination. There is no shelf life to salt, only to the container the salt is in.
And now…….you know most of what there is to know about salt. You can impress your friends, but here’s a suggestion ! Cooking for them will go a lot farther !


Michael's Dis 'N Dat Seasoning Mixes,
“Certified Cajun” products of Louisiana
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