Salt – Good Or Bad?
Salt is the basic element in most of our foods. Salt helps to prevent bacterial growth in our food by dissolving the moisture. Because of this, salt is sometimes referred to as “man made food”. Without salt, no meal would be possible, and without salt, no dish would ever taste of itself. In fact, all food except for meat and fish would simply be bland and tasteless.
Some salts, such as table salt and kosher salt, are naturally mined from deep underground salt mines and formed by the earth’s crust. Sea salt comes from evaporating sea water and transporting it into the air. The various other salts are obtained from rock salt mines by the process of dehydration and high heat. However, sea and table salt are the most common, and there are very few substitutes for these. Most salts are extracted from natural sea water.
The type of rock that a salt crystal is mined from depends on which particular mineral constituents it contains. Sea and table salts differ primarily in their chemical properties, although both contain minerals of the same type. Sea salts tend to have a higher amount of magnesium and iodine, while table salt tends to have higher amounts of potassium and calcium. Most salts can be found on the grocery shelves and may be used for seasoning any number of foods, from sauces to gravy to vegetables to crackers.
There are two major differences between sea salt and table salt. Sea salt has been processed to remove all the impurities. Its color usually changes from gray to black due to the passage of pressure through the crystal. Sea salts usually have a higher sodium content than table salt. Table salt has no chemical processes that have rendered it useless as a food seasoning agent.
In comparison, kosher salt is the salt that Jews use and believe in. Kosher salt is a combination of sea salt and ground kosher salt. To make kosher salt, the kosher salt is mixed with water and then baking soda (the neutral PH salt). Thus, kosher salt has less sodium than sea salt or table salt.
To test its texture, pinch off some of the surface texture, and then hold the pinch in your hand. Sea salt has a harder texture than table salt. This is what gives it a “chunks” look. When you try eating crunchy, raw sea salt with fruits, it really has a taste of dryness. Chefs who favor this texture for their sauces notice that their dishes taste better when eaten raw. A sea salt’s texture is fine when it comes to grilling, but it loses its crunch when cooked.
As for the other two varieties, sea salt has a higher concentration of minerals like magnesium, calcium, iron, and chloride compared to table salt. These minerals enhance its flavor as well as its body. Sea salts are also much less likely to undergo contamination by external organisms, which table salt does. Its antibacterial property makes it useful as a cleaning agent. It may be used to remove grease from saunas and pool decks.
Unfortunately, the trace minerals found in sea salts are not always enough to counteract the effects of chemicals on the body. When eating food, our bodies absorb the sodium and chloride from it. And, our systems eventually have to discard the sodium and chloride, leaving behind inorganic salts called monosodium phosphate (MSF). The inorganic salts cause health problems, such as high blood pressure, poor digestion, heart disease, and osteoporosis. To neutralize these inorganic salts, the body needs to excrete more salt, and so cooks, eat, and drink less sea salt.