The Glory of Unrefined Salt

This week it’s been all about salt for me. We had a successful salt block cooking class last Tuesday in which we made curry chicken and orange bell peppers using the salt block. Over the holiday weekend I also had the privilege of visiting a store called The Meadow, which specializes in salts from all over the world. Check out their online store for some exciting education.

One of the questions I often get in regards to salt is the difference between iodized, table salt and other kinds of salts, like sea salt or Himalayan salt. I like to refer to these 2 different types of salts as refined and unrefined salt.

Refined salt is usually land mined and highly processed. The salt is bleached and heated to about 1200 degrees F. These processes change the chemical composition of the salt and strip it of minerals and trace elements, significantly reducing its nutritional value.   Due to removal of these valuable electrolytes and minerals, refined salt can cause large fluctuations in blood pressure, similar to the way refined sugar can cause large spikes and dips in blood glucose levels.

The ingredient list of refined salt is also worth examining. Besides sodium chloride, table salt contains anti-caking agents, potassium iodine and dextrose, which is a type of sugar. Many people do not expect the ingredient sugar to be included in their iodized salt.

Unrefined salt comes from several naturally occurring sources, including bodies of water and land mines. These salts are extracted through processes that include gentle and slow heating, like sun drying, and involve a low level of processing.  This allows the salt’s naturally occurring trace minerals and elements to remain untouched and available to us when we eat the salt  There are no artificially added ingredients to these salts.  They are considered to be a nutrient dense whole food.

I encourage you to explore the wide world of unrefined salt!

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