Why consuming different types of salt is a good idea?
What’s grainy and white and our lifeline? No, not sugar. In fact, it is salt.
Now, of course, there are lots of types of salt available - Iodised or not, low sodium or normal, black salt or pink,… and thus the confusion this simple, essential food ingredient seems to be churning up, is bewildering to say the least. It helps to know about the options available.
But first it is important to know that a little salt (sodium chloride) is indispensable to our diet. We need sodium to activate our brain cells, keep our digestion working fine, regulate body's water balance, keep muscles functioning and conduct nerve impulses. That is why normal, healthy people need not restrict sodium intake; it can actually be dangerous to restrict the sodium in the absence of any medical illness.
The recommended daily allowance of sodium intake is 2400 mg = 6g or 1 tsp of salt, and those who exercise too much or sweat excessively may need a little extra (another 2 gm or so). Excess intake may add up health troubles.
Let’s look at the types of salt available.
Table salt fortified with iodine helps safeguards against thyroid problems that are commonly caused due to iodine deficiency. Iodine is in fact a very important mineral, and even though the total requirement of iodine for an adult adds up to less than a spoonful, as there is no storage organ for iodine in the body it is important to include iodine in our daily diet. Salt works as a very effective medium for this purpose. Iodised salt helps to prevent IDD (Iodine Deficiency Disorders). It is especially important for children as it leads to better cognitive development, which leads to better school performance, and for adults too, it paves a way for increased energy (by reducing anaemia), and increased productivity.
This is also called sendha namak, and is highly valued in Ayurveda as it offers health benefits like better digestion, and is good for prevention and treating colds and coughs too. It also delivers some trace minerals that are good for our health in the long run and contains various electrolytes that may help relieve some muscle cramps and pains.
Black salt has a coarse and crunchy texture that works well for finishing dishes and has a visual appeal. It is a beneficial digestive aid, and also provides laxative effects, besides aiding in relieving gas and bloating.
This is produced by the evaporation of seawater and can come in white, grey, red, pink and black colours. It contains a small amount of natural iodine, but not nearly as much as iodised salt. It can have trace amounts of some minerals that may offer a different flavour in cooking. The mineral content can vary depending on where in the world the salt is harvested from.
Salt remains essential for health, wellness, and cooking. All salts, regardless of different textures or colour, are comparable in sodium content.
Low sodium salt
This is good for those suffering from blood pressure, oedema (swelling in body parts), liver failure, kidney failure, congestive heart failure, nephrotic syndrome with kidney dysfunction, and cirrhosis of liver require a low salt diet. But a word of caution: arbitrarily shifting to a low salt diet by a healthy person may result in a lower blood pressure and may also cause depletion of body fluids resulting in dehydration.
A wholesome diet is what is essential – with the right nutrient mi; protein, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and all other essential nutrients that supply your diet with optimum nutritional value.
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