The Salty Side of The Holidays
Holiday treats, nibbles, dinners, and more! YUM!
If you’re cooking this year, let’s learn about the different salt options available, and which ones to choose to make your holiday meals healthier for your family.
Salt is so much more than that box in your Oma’s cupboard! Everyone is familiar with table salt. Most will be familiar with sea salt, and a number of you will have heard of Himalayan salt. All of these are options for you to flavour your food, create a scrub, or to gargle with warm water to aid a sore throat.
The added bonus of sea and Himalayan salts are that they have not been treated and cleaned to the level that table salt has. In the process of making table salt, all the minerals aside from sodium and chloride are stripped from the salt, and as well, it is bleached and refined to look like it does as it comes out of its box. Since 1924, table salt has had iodine added to it as a preventative of iodine deficiency, which is a known cause of hypothyroidism.
Salt is often perceived as unhealthy, especially in large amounts, because it can bind water in the bloodstream and raise blood pressure. The daily recommended intake of sodium for Canadians is 2300 mg. This equates to approximately a single teaspoon amount. A very high percentage of sodium found in the Standard American diet comes from processed foods, so be mindful. You may not be adding it to your food, but eating a lot of processed and packaged foods will already contain it. If you make sure the majority of your foods are wholesome, homemade and unprocessed you should have no problems with taking in too much sodium.
Sea salt is made by evaporating sea water and it too is mostly sodium and chloride. Sea salt is often less ground up than table salt so therefore provides a more granular texture, more flavour, and can contain small amounts of minerals. One thing we need to remember however, is the oceans have become quite polluted so sea salt can also contain trace amounts of pollutants, such as lead.
Himalayan salt is harvested in Pakistan. It contains small amounts of calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium, and lower amounts of sodium than regular salt. Some will notice a difference, as the flavour is often a bit milder. The main difference is noted in the colour. The pink hew that you see is from the trace amount of iron oxide.
There appears to be no scientific evidence that shows Himalayan salt provides more health benefits in comparison to either table or sea salt. It does, however, contain several minerals, though the doses are small and therefore some believe it is unlikely to bring any notable health benefits.
FUN FACT: Both sea salt and Himalayan salts are also wonderful for a nice soak, regardless of what part of your body is soaking in it! Feet, hands, or all of you! Epsom salt is also a great option for soaking in. Did you know that Epsom salt isn’t actually salt at all?! It’s a mineral found in water that contains high levels of magnesium and sulfate - which is what it is primarily made up of.
Any of these three salts will help draw out toxins, cleanse your skin and most importantly, help you relax. Try adding in some essential oils or bubbles to have a wonderfully scent filled experience!
And there you have it - some good information about the types of salts and the different benefits they each offer. Now you can choose which salt you want to use for your holiday cooking - or pampering!
Now that’s pretty sweet AND salty!
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