Naini’s Food Sense: Salts

In Gujarat there is an interesting custom followed the day after Diwali – young boys in the rural villages collect salt from the evaporated ponds and distribute it to people, calling it ‘sabras’ (adds flavor to everything) signifying good luck in the New Year. Salt is essential for survival of human life and it is absolutely needed to restore elevate, cure and treat various infections.

Long before the earth knew pollutants, evaporation left salt deposits on rocks which were consumable by all living beings. Salt is as essential as a water regulator, to maintain electrolytes, pH balance, preventing dehydration, aiding working of cell and nerve coordination. When its level falls, it affects the entire body’s health.

When I mention salt I mean natural organic sea salt or rock. It contains 84 natural elements, unlike table salt. They are cooling and anti-acidic, preventing the cells especially the brain cells from turning acidic. Salts are effective in stabilising irregular heartbeats, and are generally essential for the regulation of blood pressure in conjunction with water.

Rock Salt

Sendha Namak in Hindi, is formed by the evaporation of water in large water bodies. In India it is largely found in the Himalayan region. Kala namak, a type of rock salt, is the healthiest of all salts. It is a special type of Indian mineral salt with a distinctive taste. It is known to have a cooling, anti-bileous, anti-phlegmatic, carminative, anti-acidic and digestive benefit for the body, and makes for a robust pairing with soups, chaats, curds, lemon juice, vegetable juices and fruits.

Sea Salt

This is salt obtained from the evaporation of sea water. It balances body fluids, is a nutrient enhancer and has multiple trace minerals in it thus preventing any electrolyte imbalance. I love sprinkling this on salads, and cooking my Indian vegetables and dals with sea salt.

In commercial salts, they add bleach to add the white colour, on top of it the iodine which is used in India has been banned in 33 countries as it is a health hazard. India is not iodine deficient, natural salts have enough iodine. Table salts, basically are chemicals combined together in factories, do not have any nutrients as compared to natural salts as they are not naturally made. We have enough pollutants entering our body and so we need not add any more artificial ingredients and chemicals, especially one that is absolutely essential daily. Natural salts are nature’s silver treasures gifted to all living creatures for its sustenance of good health. Remember, natural and organic is better.

This article is written by Conscious Food’s nutrition advisor, Naini Setalvad. Naini has been a practicing Obesity, Lifestyle & Disease Consultant for the past 20 years and is based about of Mumbai. You can read about her, her work and her services here

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