What is the difference between refined and unrefined salt? In today’s society there is more need for salty foods than ever before. We now find ourselves eating more fish and other sea foods as well as breads, pastas, crackers and cookies. Because of this increased demand there has also been a demand for salt to help with the taste of these new foods and satisfy the taste buds of people that may not be used to eating salty foods.
When we talk about salt what comes to mind are the coarse types that come in large drums. We have all seen them when we walk into a grocery store, they are the big ones that everyone uses to get their table salt from. But what if you were told that there is a healthier alternative? That there is a best way to enjoy fine grain salt that will give you the flavor you are after while keeping the salt out of your body? This is something that many people are now able to do.
You may be asking, “What is unrefined sea salt and why would I benefit from it?” Well, unrefined sea salt contains more beneficial nutrients than the average refined salt does. For example, unrefined sea salt contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and sodium, just to name a few.
Refined salt is processed by various methods to remove impurities and additives. It is then packaged and sold as “white” or “normal” salt. However, unrefined salts have not been stripped of any of the healthy minerals and can actually be beneficial to our health in several ways. The unrefined variety contains magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, and several other essential mineral traces that are good for our bodies.
The trace minerals are necessary to our daily diet and most people already take care to consume them. However, sodium is not one of them. Sodium is used in many foods that we enjoy so much such as ice cream, soups, sauces, and salad dressings. People don’t usually think about the effects that sodium can have on our health unless it affects us in a negative way such as high blood pressure, hypertension, or a stroke. But the truth is that sodium can cause a variety of problems ranging from irregular heartbeats to seizures and heart failure.
The real problem with unrefined salts is that they are not processed like other whole foods. The process by which unrefined salts become salt takes away some of the nutrient value and therefore the salt becomes much less healthy than regular table salt. However, there is an old wives tale that salt causes bad breath, so if you have bad breath you should avoid salty foods. The real danger is from the salt you take with you in your everyday life.
In addition to the problems presented by unrefined salts, refined salts are even worse. Refined salts lose most of their minerals, particularly sodium and potassium, during the refining process. These two essential mineral ions are important for good health and can be lost without them at critical levels in the body. The refined salt also contains other harmful substances, such as mercury and lead, which should be avoided at all costs.
Iodine is one of the most important minerals and a deficiency can be devastating to the human body, particularly the thyroid gland. The iodine in these types of diets may lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. The benefits go further than that, too, as a lack of iodine can cause other serious problems, such as an under active thyroid. These foods are a good place to start for someone just learning about diet and nutrition.