7 Things You Might Not Know About Salt
We’ve been reading a whole lot recently about the magic combination of salt, sugar and fat, and how the junk food industry has been sneakily using this combo to hook us on their products.
But what do you know about just plain salt, on its own?
1. It’s Bad Luck To Spill Salt
According to superstition, spilling salt can cause bad luck, an idea that seems to have have originated with Leonardo da Vinci’s painting “The Last Supper.” If you look closely, you can see that Judas Iscariot, the man who betrayed Jesus, has knocked the salt cellar over with his elbow. Thanks to Judas, spilled salt is associated with treachery and lies. Oh, and by the way, if you do spill salt, a pinch thrown over your left shoulder is supposed to blind the devil waiting there.
2. Too Much Salt Leads To Heart Problems
Salt makes your body hold on to water, so if you take in too much salt, you’ll be storing extra water in your body, which will raise your blood pressure. That in turn will lead to a greater strain on your heart, arteries, kidneys and brain. A study in the British Medical Journal suggests that if we were to cut our salt intake by 3 grams per day, the US alone would have up to 120,000 fewer cases of coronary heart disease, 66,000 fewer strokes and 99,000 fewer heart attacks annually.
3. An Overdose Of Salt Can Lead To Osteoporosis
It’s also true that an overdose of salt can put you at risk for osteoporosis and kidney stones. That’s because for some people, when sodium intake becomes too high, the body gets rid of it through urine. But sometimes, when it does that, it also takes calcium with it, and that could contribute toward osteoporosis. At the same time, the increased amount of calcium in urine may contribute to the development of kidney stones.
4. Salt In Moderation Is Good For You
However, there’s no reason to quit salt entirely. If high blood pressure is not an issue for you, and you’re generally healthy, you don’t need to worry about it. According to the The Institute of Medicine, we shouldn’t exceed 2,300 mg of salt a day, but most people do (by about a 1,000 mg), and it’s most likely not going to do great damage to your body. As always, consult with your doctor on what works best for you.
5. In Fact, Not Enough Salt Can Kill You
Just like animals who seek out a salt lick, we humans need an adequate supply of salt. Hyponatremia, which refers to a dangerously low level of salt in the body, occurs when a person drinks excessive amounts of water, resulting in a very low concentration of sodium in the blood. This is most commonly seen in long-distance runners and athletes. In the most serious of cases, an athlete may experience seizures, coma or even death.
6. Sea Salt Is No Better For You Than Table Salt
Sea salt and table salt have basically the same nutritional value. They d0 differ in how they are processed, how they taste, and in their texture, but not in their chemical makeup. Sea salt, which is produced through evaporation of sea water, can contain a few trace minerals. Table salt is mined from underground salt deposits and is usually stripped of its natural minerals, even though iodine is often added.
7. Thomas Jefferson Spoke Of A Salt Mountain In Louisiana
To achieve the Louisiana Purchase, one of his triumphs, President Jefferson cited reports of a “salt mountain.” “This mountain is said to be 180 miles long and 45 in width, composed of solid rock salt, without any trees or even shrubs on it.” Unsurprisingly the salt mountain was never found; speculation was that the reports referred to Oklahoma’s Great Salt Plains.
Related Care2 Coverage
Photo Credit: thinkstock