Alleviative salts have better health benefits than regular salt. Source: Anna Hoychuk

Viwe Ndongeni

SALT is one ingredient that we cannot avoid while cooking or in our daily intakes of foods. It has bad and good benefits on your overall health.

Nutritional therapist Nicola Bentley from Evolution Café Xperience says, On average a person needs no more than 1,500 mg of salt a day, that may not include competitive athlete losing a lot of sodium in seat.

“The problem in South Africa is that the average intake of salt is almost double, and 75% of sodium eaten is not from the salt shaker but through restaurant, processed pre-packaged foods,” she adds.

In recent years salt has gotten the bad name from some of the health gurus and many people are trying to cut down on it for many reasons. One being that, the regular table salt is bleached and cleaned with chemicals and then heated to extremely high temperatures and the iodine that is added is almost a synthetic which our bodies find difficult to digest.Its stripped of the majority of minerals with the exception of sodium and chloride.

Over the years, studies have shown that for each gram of table salt that we consume our bodies cannot process due to the way it's prepared and treated.

Your body will use 20 times the amount of cellular water to neutralize the amount of sodium chloride that is present in this chemically-treated salt.

One reason that Bentley says we should avoid excessive extra sodium as it causes the body to retain water, increasing blood volume and causing the heart to work harder and adding to move blood, placing more pressure to the arteries.

“Increased blood pressure can ultimately lead to heart disease, heart failure or stroke.’’

There are many alternatives to salting your food. Bentley suggests that one must eat as close to nature as possible by eating fresh food rather than processed foodstuffs. Another alternative is exploring different kinds of salt than the table salt, or sea salt such as Himalayan rock salt. Being attentive to labels and being mindful of the choice of spices especially ones with added refined salt.

Nepheritie Jade, integrative functional nutritionist says, salt has benefits to your health if used correctly, such as promoting a stable pH balance within the cells, prevents muscle cramps, strengthens bones, improves circulation, as well as helping and it helps with detoxifying the body of heavy metals.

While many have not mastered the correct way of using it, Jade recommends Himalayan salt rather than regular salt due to its health benefits.

“The reason is mainly attributed to the fact that it is found in 200 million-year-old crystallized sea salt beds that were covered by lava.”

It has been untouched by layers of snow and ice in its natural habitat meaning that this salt's minerals have been perfectly preserved and it is believed to be the purest salt there is.

“Minerals and energy Himalayan salts are a rich source of some very important minerals; sodium chloride, sulphate, calcium, potassium, and magnesium... all of which our body needs.It contains the same 84 trace minerals and elements that are found in the human body,” explains Jade.

Another health benefit of Himalayan salt is that it gives you less sodium intake than table salt because it is not refined and the crystals are larger. “This alternative salt receives health merits because of its cellular structure.The minerals in this salt exist in colloidal form, which means that they are small enough for our cells to easily absorb," concludes Jade.