The human body needs sodium—found in salt (sodium chloride)—to manage its day-to-day function. From maintaining balance of water in and around the cells to managing proper muscle and nerve function. But the amount needed for all this is tiny: The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that people consume less than 5g of salt a day. Unfortunately, global intake averages double the amount. A recent study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that sodium is a prevalent factor in bloating. The condition is characterised by the build-up of excess gas in the gut.
Excess salt consumption can lead to a whole lot of health complications—from high blood pressure to increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. Of course, a lot also depends on the type of salt we use and how we consume it. The main culprit is table salt, which is highly processed and stripped of all its minerals. Table salt is packed with iodine and anti-caking agents to guarantee longer shelf life. But it comes at a price. These anti-caking agents mostly contain ingredients that are linked to cancer and neurological diseases. So for a better health, check out these alternatives.
Hawaiian alaea red salt: Made from standard Hawaiian sea salt, it has 80 percent trace minerals, which means an extremely low sodium level. It gets its name and colour from the native volcanic clay that lines the salt ponds. This clay has detoxifying properties.
Great as facial masks and salt scrubs, can help eliminate toxins
It is a rich source of digestible dietary iron, beneficial for lower immune function
The intense flavour makes patrons reduce the amount in the cooking naturally
Persian blue salt: Harvested from an ancient salt lake in Iran, this unique salt is extremely mineral-rich and ironically, slightly sweet. The colour comes from the natural compression over the millennia—just like blue glacial ice. It is also one of the world’s rarest salts.
It helps reduce the acidity of food thanks to its almost lemony notes
Helps regulate blood pressure and prevents cardiovascular disease
Aids vitality and reduces stress
Hawaiian black lava salt: Made from sea water that evaporates in pools situated on hardened lava, the crystals are later mixed with activated coconut charcoal. All this brings in a really earthy flavour.
Helps get rid of stiff muscles and painful joints and fights osteoporosis
It is the best for babies and is a home remedy for a number of ailments
Adding a pinch of black salt to your cleanser or scrub can work wonders for your skin
Celtic salt: Also known as sel gris, it has a higher mineral content and a grey colour. When ground finely with volcanic rocks, it creates an almost buttery feel. It dissolves easily and is best suited for healthy desserts and gluten-free baking.
Builds immunity and promotes cognitive function
Regulates blood pressure levels and reduces signs of ageing
Fights insomnia and reduces muscle cramps
Cyprus black lava salt: Similar to its Hawaiian counterpart, this salt hails from Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea. The large, almost pyramid-shaped crystals are formed naturally. When mixed with activated charcoal, the crystals actually look like pieces of charcoal.
Helps in weight loss since it disintegrates and dissolves lipids and enzymes
Stabilises cholesterol and ensures proper circulation by thinning blood
It has a unique property that helps the body maintain an appropriate blood-sugar level
Himalayan salt: Mined in the Punjab region of Pakistan, this is the Cadillac of salts. Rich in trace minerals, it is also used to make salt lamps. Known famously as the purest salt on earth, it has been maturing for over 250 million years and is mined and washed by hand.
A glass of water fully saturated with this salt can help flush out toxins
Therapy using Himalayan salt in the form of inhalers and a salt-rich environment, can treat respiratory issues
It regulates blood sugar levels and also maintains hormonal balance