What Is 'Celtic Salt'?
Salt is minerals. Mineral salts. You know, like as in 'vitamins and minerals'. Minerals are something absolutely vital to our existence, without a steady supply of which, we die. So we need to take an enlightened look at salt, and understand the issues a little more clearly. There is 'good' salt, and there is 'bad' salt.
Over the past 40 years, there has been a lot of medical advice suggesting that salt is a poison, like tobacco and alcohol. Since childhood, people have been taught that "salt causes high blood pressure". This is still the general medical position, and this is the case with refined salt. But with natural, unrefined salt, it is definitely not so. All salt is not the same, and in the light of recent studies into salt, it is now time to put the record straight.
Refined salt is basically just 2 mineral salts, sodium (Na+) and chloride (Cl-), together with other chemicals. Like anything which is isolated from its organic whole (ie refined), excessive concentrations of sodium and chloride will cause excessive acidity, which can and will cause mineral and fluid imbalances in the body. This in turn can lead to any of the following problems:- fluid retention, hypertension, excessive thirst, diarrhoea, stiff gait, exhaustion(fatigue), tremors, seizures, hyperactivity, cognitive dysfunction, anaemia, anorexia, and imbalances of other minerals.
A no-salt or even a low-salt diet causes many problems
Conversely, the current belief that our body can function on a no-salt or even on a low salt intake causes more problems than it tries to solve. You cannot function without salt; you can't digest your food without salt; your heart cannot function; your adrenal glands can't function; neither can your liver nor kidneys, your lymphatic system will become sluggish and inefficient, as will the blood system, without proper intakes of mineral salts. Here are some problems a low- or no-salt diet can and will cause:-
- dehydration (salt helps the body retain the water needed for the fluid systems)
- edema (fluid retention - the other side of the dehydration coin)
- massive adrenal exhaustion (fatigue)
- kidney and liver problems
- high blood pressure (Research conducted at the Hypertension Centre at Cornell University Medical Centre by doctors JH Laragh and MS Pecker, shows that in many instances high blood pressure occurs when certain enzyme systems (eg renin-angiotensin-aldosterone pathways) are overactive. This overactivity indicates a physiological need for salt.
- heart attack (heart valves can tire and lacerate)
- accelerated ageing, cellular degeneration, biochemical starvation
- breathing difficulties
So don't be conned by the crusade against salt. It is certainly true that all salt is not the same, and so whilst we criticise refined salt which is indeed toxic and poisonous,causing as it does imbalance within human biochemistry, we need to speak of the good salt, that which is totally unrefined and organic.
Problems with our Soils
Soils used to grow vegies these days are definitely mineral-depleted, so food alone will not be sufficient to ensure proper mineral intake. Remember when tomatoes used to taste like tomatoes? They don't today for several reasons, but especially because the soils are mineral salts-depleted. Not deficient in calcium or magnesium, phosphorus or potassium (the base of most of the common fertilisers), but in the whole range of trace minerals our body biochemistry needs to function properly. So it is increasingly necessary for us to add them to our diets.
Biochemistry and mineral salt
All nutrients such as vitamins, proteins, enzymes, amino acids, carbohydrates, fats, sugars, oils etc require minerals (salt) to be of any biological use at all. Mineral salts act sometimes as co-factors, as catalysts, or ionised energy conductors. All elements work together (synergistically) as a collective whole; if there is a shortage of one mineral, the balance of the body's chemistry can be upset, like the "weak link" in a chain. In this unrefined state, sodium and chloride are therefore balanced and buffered by the other 82 elements, and the combined impact is in fact, very beneficial to our bodies.
This should not be surprising, considering that we came from a sa lty environment (our mother's womb-filled amniotic fluid) to start with. And all our body fluids, blood, extracellular fluid, lymph, tears and sweat, are salty. Every cell in the body has to be constantly bathed in extracellular fluid ("the internal ocean"), a fluid with a salt composition very similar to that of the ocean. The minerals and trace elements found in sea water and harvested as natural, unrefined sea salt, work to maintain proper functioning of the body's systems. Taking this unrefined salt on a daily basis is like taking a multi-mineral supplement, only it is cheaper, tastier, more comprehensive and probably better balanced than a multi-mineral tablet.
Good Salt - a multi-mineral supplement
Natural, unrefined salt is a multi-mineral, containing 84 minerals and trace elements, some of which are also referred to as electrolytes. These 84 minerals provide for all the needs of human biochemistry. There is available in shops (including health food shops) a wide range of salts, from the highly refined Saxa table salts, through to rock, macrobiotic, vegetable and various other salts. Each of these has negatives and positives, although there are no real positives the more refined anything is, including salt.
But why muck around with anything else, when the very best is readily available, totally unrefined, hand-harvested, richly organic salt. This salt is called Celtic Salt, also known as grey sea salt, and Brittany salt. Off the Northwest coast of France, where there are cold, active, North Sea currents, 3-metre tides, and other suitable marine conditions such as pristine ponds and natural waterways edged with wild grasses and other green plants, the wind and sun evaporate the ocean water leaving a rich brine. The salt crystals are harvested in the age-old method by hand, with wooden rakes. The salt fields of North West France (about 2000 hectares) are lined with a natural layer of clay and sand. There is no intervention by modern chemistry, nothing is added, nothing removed, it comes with organic certification. Currently, there are plans to harvest a similar product from the coast of Tasmania in Australia, but until we see the finished product, we recommend Celtic Salt on a daily basis for everyone, as a very low cost way of ensuring proper intake of minerals. And an excellent way to put some flavour back into your food. Use in cooking, sprinkle on food, use in a homemade salad dressing, and you can also put a little into drinking water. Celtic salt has a strong flavour, so you don't need too much, just salt to taste is the best rule.
Anti-caking agents (eg aluminosilicate of sodium), plus bleaches are used in refined salt; sometimes, inorganic iodine is also added (which incidentally causes obesity and sexual dysfunction), so then other chemicals are added to stabilise these iodine additives. Other chemicals to prevent water absorption and promote free-flow of the salt from the container are also added. None of these chemicals is compatible with human biochemistry, and simply contribute to the problems refined salt causes.