Where does salt come from and is it bad for you?

Salt is one of the most common ingredients that you’ll find for cooking in the United States today. You’ll pretty much find it in every savoury recipe going, whether that’s whilst you’re cooking it or after it’s cooked and for seasoning. But where does this magnificent mineral come from? How is it produced, and how did it become so popular in modern society? Well, lets have a quick look at what makes salt one of the most popular ingredients today.

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Where does salt come from?

Well, when talking about salt, there are two main different variations that really need to be considered. The most common is table (rock) salt, the stuff you’d buy at your local supermarket, and sea salt (pure). Table salt has other stuff added to it to help increase its shelf life. Things that are commonly added to table salt are very small amounts of glucose, potassium iodide and various different anti-caking ingredients.

With table salt being the most commonly known salt, there are other types. Whilst there are many variations of salt, the likelihood is that you won’t have heard of most of them. Of the lesser known salts, Himalayan salt is probably the best known as it has become increasingly popular in recent years. It is a type of rock salt, and it comes from the mountains of Pakistan; around 220 miles from the Himalayas. It has a pink color, which it gets from certain impurities in the salt.

Though Himalayan salt is popular, it is really a variation or types of rock salt. Rock salt, or Halite, is commonly used to de-ice the frosty road, but is also an extremely popular ingredient in cooking. Table salt is a form of rock salt, though it often has stuff added to it to support the thyroid (iodine) and reduce impurities.

What’s the difference between rock salt and sea salt? Well, the obvious answer is that rock salt comes from mines and different salt domes around the world. Many countries in the world have their own salt mines, including the United States. They are scattered all throughout central North America, as well as through Europe and the United Kingdom.

Where does sea salt come from, though?

The salt that you’ll find in your ocean is pretty much the same as table salt; well, 90% the same anyway. But how does it get into the ocean? Well, it actually gets into the ocean from stones and rocks on the land. When rains lands onto rocks and mountains, it erodes the rocks slightly and extracts salt from these eroded rocks that will eventually spread into lakes, rivers and eventually into the ocean.

Originally though, salt was made from gas and dust clouds. Sodium and Chlorine were made from nucleosynthesis in amongst the stars, and when a supernova occurred and the Stars died, materials like water, salt and other compounds were formed. The remains of some supernovas came together to make up the gas/dust which formed the solar system as we know it. Check this cool video out for a in depth process guide;

Is salt really bad for you?

The answer to this is something that has been considered for many years now, with scientists seemingly changing their mind and offering different opinions. The truth is though, that much of the bad press that salt has gotten in the past is just a major technique to push foods that have little salt in them. Ever seen those “low sodium” or “reduced salt” foods in your supermarket? Yeah, there’s a reason for that.

Truthfully, too much salt can be dangerous in regards to your blood pressure. And this is all because salt makes your body retain water, which isn’t great for you if you’re worried about your blood pressure. When your cells fill up with too much water, this can cause issues resulting in heart problems.

How much salt is too much? Well, it’s hard to tell, but it’d certainly be a substantial amount. There was a case of a man who entered into a coma from drinking too much soy sauce; he did drink the whole bottle however. Most of the salt that you’ll intake would be from processed foods, so we wouldn’t worry too much about adding a little bit to your cooking. Of course, we would recommend a diet on mainly whole foods to avoid any complications.

5 Super Interesting facts about salt

  • Up until fairly recent years, salt was actually used as a currency in some countries in the world. The most recent example of this is in Ethiopia, where until 100 years ago bars of salt were used with a monetary value.
  • The saying ‘not worth his salt’ is said to derive from Ancient Greece, where slaves would often be sold in exchange for salt.
  • Hypotranemia¬†is a real and dangerous thing. It is where one consumes so much water, that all the salt in your system is flushed out. It can result in death, due to the cells in your body swelling well above their normal size.
  • In the 19th Century, salt held an abnormally high price due to its ability to maintain health and regular sodium levels. So much so that it’s said to have been worth 4 times that of the cow, due to an abundance of livestock readily available.
  • Salt has many religious attachments, including the Jewish remembrance of sacrifices by dipping their bread into a bowl of salt.

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