The flavour of life



By Naini Setalvad

May 2014

We can’t do without salt, the most essential of ingredients, says Naini Setalvad

Come summer, and chances are high that excessive sweating can reduce our salt content, and expose us to dehydration.

This loss of salt can be dangerous and lead to low blood sodium, known as “hyponatremia”. Salt is essential to maintain the pH balance of the body, so when its level falls, it affects the entire body. Therefore, add that extra salt to your food in summertime by sprinkling rock salt on your fruits, juices and salads.

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Most people think salt is bad for health. This is far from the truth. What causes the harm is the wrong type of salt taken in the wrong quantities. Salt is an essential food. During my grandfather’s time, salt was called ‘sabras’, which literally means juice of life. Salt is vital for the survival of all living beings. It is as important as water to regulate the electrolyte balance in the body, which determines its health.

Salt is vital to nerve cells communication and information processing by the brain cells. It also helps to raise low BP, clear up catarrh and congestion of the sinuses, and prevent muscle cramp. Salt on the tongue stops persistent dry coughs. Fortunately, it still remains one of the cheapest of condiments.

Long before the earth knew pollutants of any kind, a huge, ancient sea covered what is now North America. Pure, natural salt was the main ingredient of this sea, and over millions of years, the water in the sea evaporated, leaving the salt in undisturbed deposits. Salt derived from the sea or rocks is natural salt.

Natural salt

According to ayurveda, rock salt, sindhala, or upvas ka namak are the healthiest of all salts. Rock salt and sea salt are known to have cooling, anti-acidic, anti-bilious, anti-phlegmatic, carminative and digestive benefits on the human body. Both these types of salt are similar as the same minerals are found in them.

Black/rock salt: Black salt is known as kala namak. It is a special type of Indian mineral salt with a distinctive taste. Black salt is not actually black, it is more reddish-gray. It is regarded as a cooling spice in ayurvedic medicines.

Himalayan salt: Himalayan salt is basically from Kherwa, which is located in the mountainous terrains of Himalayas
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