I've never been much of a salt eater...so I thought. (I grew up in a house with a diabetic, heart patient and salt was the enemy.) After I developed some health issues that are highly affected by sodium...I started eating even less sodium...so I thought. If you aren't a label reader you should try it sometime when you are shopping. It is amazing at all the hidden sodium and even sugar in products. I am not going to be preachy or even shame anyone for indulging in sodium. I, myself, love a bag of Doritos or a stick of beef jerky: BACON. I've just developed an interest in salt and thought I would share it with you guys.
Speaking of delicious, delicious BACON...many companies now make a low sodium version. It's very good and its real bacon...not the turkey stuff.
|Source:Journal of the American College |
We all need a small amount (e.g., between about 180 mg and 500 mg per day) of sodium to keep our bodies working properly. The Institute of Medicine recommends 1500 mg of sodium per day as the Adequate Intake level for most Americans and advises everyone to limit sodium intake to less than 2300 mg per day, the Tolerable Upper Limit. Current dietary guidelines for Americans recommend that adults in general should consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. At the same time, consume potassium-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables. However, if you are in the following population groups, you should consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day and meet the potassium recommendation (4,700 mg/day) with food:
- You are 51 years of age or older.
- You are African American.
- You have high blood pressure.
- You have diabetes.
- You have chronic kidney disease.*
These are my own thoughts and opinions on salt. Do your own research or talk to your medical professional. I am not qualified or trained to give medical facts.
A Basic and Quick Salt Index
- Table salt: This is the common salt normally found on every table. It is a fine-ground, refined rock salt with some additives to keep it free-flowing. Smaller particles mean more particles per measure and more surface area than coarser grinds. As such, use about half the amount if you are substituting for coarse salt. Most packaged and processed foods contain astronomical amounts of the stuff.
- Iodized salt: Salt which has iodine (sodium iodide) added. Iodine is a mineral necessary to the body to prevent hypothyroidism and some countries actually require iodine added by law. For those who live in areas away from oceans, iodized salt is an easy way to get this necessary nutrient into the diet. Surprisingly, iodized salt contains a small amount of sugar (usually indicated as dextrose in the ingredients listing), without which the salt would turn yellow due to oxidation of the iodine.
- Coarse salt: Coarse refers to the grind. The jagged edges and large crystals make this a good choice for sprinkling on pretzels or corn on the cob because the edges tend to cling and the salt does not readily melt.
- Kosher salt: This is a coarser grind of salt with large, irregular crystals. It contains no additives. Kosher dietary laws strictly require as much blood as possible be removed from meat before cooking. This coarse grind performs the job admirably. It is a favorite with not only Jewish cooks, but also professional/gourmet cooks who prefer its texture and brighter flavor. When substituting for table salt, you may need more to taste since it seems less salty. The size and shape of the crystals cannot permeate the food as easily as fine grades. Coarse pickling salt can be substituted.
- Pink salt: (Himalayan)- Pink salt is prized for it's unique color and flavor. The pink color is due to iron oxide. Pink salts are mined, rather than evaporated, at inland locations in Peru and all along the Himalayas. Pink salt is highly flavored and is usually kept in large grains that provide as much texture as flavor to food.
- Sea salt: Distilled from sea waters, this form can be fine or coarsely ground. Some consider sea salt nutritionally better than rock salt because it naturally contains trace minerals, but the difference is too minute to note. It does, however, have a stronger and more interesting flavor. Grey or gray salt is a sea salt.
- Seasoned salt: Single or multiple herbs and spices are added to
salt to make garlic salt, onion salt, and other mixes. If you are
watching your salt intake, you are better off using the unsalted
powdered or dried herbs and spices and controlling the salt as a
separate ingredient. The main ingredient in seasoned salt is, after all,
- Popcorn salt: This super-fine grind (think of the texture of confectioners' sugar) of salt is generally colored yellowish-orange and is used on popcorn for both color and flavoring.
- Pickling salt: This fine-grained salt has no additives and is generally used in brines to pickle foods. Unlike table salt, the lack of additives will help keep the pickling liquid from clouding. It is also used to pull moisture from cheeses to cure them.
Gourmet Salt Guide
Table Salt vs Kosher