Americans consume too much sodium. In fact, the government seems to believe it’s the root of all of many of our health problems and is pushing for food manufacturers and restaurants to decrease utilization of salt. Campbell’s recently announced it is lowering sodium content of many of its products. New York may even pass a law requiring table salt to be removed from all restaurants!

But what we’re not hearing enough about is the MAJOR difference between refined salt and unrefined salt.

Basically, any salt that is white is refined. Refined salt contains only two minerals: sodium and chloride. Sometimes iodine is added back into salt as well. Refined salt is processed at very high temperatures and is chemically altered so much that our body does not recognize it. This type of salt is the salt that can lead to high blood pressure and other serious health problems. It is found in almost all processed foods… in VERY large quantities.

The alternative?

Unrefined salt. Unrefined salt is any colored salt. Typical colors include gray, brown or pink, but I have also seen orange and even black. Unrefined salt is not processed and comes from the sea. Therefore, it still contains all the important trace minerals necessary for our health. It is 84% sodium chloride and 16% other minerals. Studies have shown that changing simply the quality of salt can significantly reduce high blood pressure in people. Rather than focus on eating less refined salt, all they have to do is eliminate refined salt completely and switch over to unrefined salt. Unrefined salt tastes so much better so this should be an easy switch! The trick is to avoid it in processed foods, which means focusing on a whole foods diet.

When choosing salt, read labels carefully. Just because something is labeled as “sea salt” does not mean it is unrefined. Most salts come from the sea originally, so you have to read carefully to determine if it’s refined or unrefined.

So go out and buy yourself some new salts to try. They are so tasty and really fun to experiment with. The best way to eliminate refined salt from your diets is to throw away any large salt containers you have in your cabinets right now and replace them with unrefined salt; and to focus on whole foods.

Don’t forget to watch Jamie Oliver tonight!

1 comment:

  1. Intriguing... I have known that sea salt is better than iodized, so I've been buying it instead. It is, however, white salt. Where would I find unrefined sea salt and does it need to be put in a grinder before use?