Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Salt is common. It graces the tables and pantries the world over. We all know the scriptures that praise its savor. It the ingredient that can really make or break a dish. Ever had bread with the salt missing? Meh, that stuff is lacking. Over salt your entree? Inedible. There is something powerful about salt. 

Salt has always been valuable because it is valuable for survival. Salt helps us regulate water flow in the body. The sodium ion itself is used for electrical signaling in the nervous system. Think of it as the stop lights for water and electricity in the body. We need a certain amount, but there is too much of a good thing.

As necessary as it is, salt gets a bad rap. A lot of that has to do with excessive consumption. I'm going to wager that most of us don't go crazy with the salt shaker- when we add salt to our food we can only add so much and then the taste is off. Processed food isn't the same as your tabletop shaker. Processed food is jam packed with salt. The reason why our sodium intake has skyrocketed in the last fifty years has more to do with what packages we are eating out of then what we are sprinkling on home cooked foods. This article on NPR's mainpage, clearly illustrates the point- they point out how much sodium is in a deli meat sandwich, and then how there is an equal amount in the store-bought white bread that meat is on. The point of the article was to limit our salt intake, and yes you could do that, but for me it was about eating the foods where I control the salt shaker.

Another key factor playing into the problem with too much salt is too little potassium. This piece by the associated press points out that the combination of the two is worse than each problem isolated. The long and short of it: replacing fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables with ultra-processed snack foods is unacceptable. 

So, cut up some potatoes, toss them with some good sea salt and roast them instead of opening a bag of potato chips. Pass on a packaged power bar and make your own trail mix of nuts and dried fruit. Save the salt for when you really want to enjoy it.

There are lots of varieties of natural salts without additives, that each have distinct flavors coming from their natural mineral content. Those nuances aren't in the common iodized salt canisters. If you have never tried sea salt, head to the bulk bins and buy a little bit. The cost is much less than the fancy shakers and canisters. I love  flaky sea salt to sprinkle on the top of a dish, the impact is fantastic. 

Want to know more about salt? Check out a lot more information here.

And hang tight for this week's recipe. It's all about the salt. 

What are your thoughts on salt? Do you have any in your food storage? 
Trust me- with all those beans you are going to want some.

1 comment:

  1. I read this article a while back about salt.
    So true that it is processed food that is the problem, not the salt shaker!


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