For most of history, the salt that humans consumed wasn’t the refined, white sodium chloride we know today. In nature, salt rocks also contain an abundance of other minerals that can be found in our soils and oceans. Pure white salt only became available due to modern machinery that can extract, heat, wash, and chemically treat natural salt rocks to remove its “impurities.”
The growth in popularity of refined table salt, however, has coincided with the spread of the various health problems associated with our modern diet. Did we make a collective mistake in choosing to strip all the earthen minerals out of our salt?
Minerals Found in Natural Salt
Unrefined, or natural, salt contains upwards of 60 and as many as 84 other earthen minerals. It is these minerals that give Real Salt, mined in Utah, its characteristic brown specks, and gives Himalayan Pink Salt, mined in the mountains of central Asia, its famous pink hue. These salt deposits are underground remains of ancient seas, and they contain all the minerals found floating around in our oceans today.
The minerals found in natural salt, like potassium and magnesium, are essential to our bodily health. These minerals are becoming increasingly difficult to acquire in our foods due to conventional farming methods and nutrient depletion in our soils. Many healthy eaters go to great lengths to eat fruits and vegetables popularly known as “superfoods” to get some of the nutrients we could more easily get from natural salt. You can find many articles across the Internet touting specific health benefits of natural salt, like stronger immune systems, lower blood sugar, and lower blood pressure, but the picture is much bigger than that – when you give the body the minerals it needs for proper cellular function, many of which you can find in natural salt, you will experience benefits in all areas of your health.
You can read about all 84 elements found in Himalayan salt and their benefits to our health here. It would take volumes to describe each of those elements’ impacts on your bodily wellbeing.
Dr. Axe describes the elements found in Himalayan salt as “all of the elements found in your body.” It’s poetic, isn’t it? The Book of Ecclesiastes (3:20) says, “All came from dust, and to dust all return.” And it turns out that salt mined out the earth contains every one of the minerals found in our bodies.
Salt Helps in Mineral Absorption
A healthy intake of salt helps our bodies absorb minerals, giving the sodium chloride and the elements found alongside it a symbiotic relationship in our digestive system. The chloride in salt helps with the production of hydrochloric acid (HCl) in our stomachs, which is necessary for proper digestion. Having a healthy amount of stomach acid fosters the absorption of minerals in the food you digest. After all, eating nutrient-rich foods is only half the battle – your body must also be able to absorb those nutrients effectively. If only we would listen to nature and intake the salt as we naturally find it, we’d be much better off.
At a time in human history when we have unprecedented access to nutrient-rich foods sourced from all over the world, we so often choose to “refine” staples like sugar, flour, and salt to remove so many of their valuable nutrients. You can find Sam’s Choice Himalayan Pink Salt at Walmart for under $5, which has been extracted from the most nutrient-rich salt deposit in the world, shipped across the globe, and placed on your local store’s shelf, and still, most consumers will buy the refined salt next to it. If only we would ditch the refined stuff and take advantage of the nutrient-rich salts we can now find in our supermarkets, our bodies would thank us for it.