salt vs. sodium

Unprocessed Sea Salt: Why Minerals Matter

By Contributor on December 8, 2010 in

“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”    –Max Planck, Theoretical Physicist

For all that we know about salt, that most basic of elemental compounds, we still don’t fully understand the role of the numerous minerals and trace elements that occur naturally in whole, unprocessed sea salt. Although most Americans tend to think of salt as pure sodium chloride, unprocessed sea salt is actually a delicate chemical tapestry that includes potassium, calcium, manganese, and dozens of other vital elements.

Table salt, by contrast, is over 99% sodium chloride. It is an industrial product far removed from the unprocessed sea salt varieties that have sustained humans for thousands of years. 

In nature, nutrients are rarely presented in such an isolated state; rather, they exist with a host of associated counterparts that work together in complex ways nutritional scientists are only just now beginning to understand. For example, the Vitamin C in spinach helps the body absorb iron, which is also found in spinach and other leafy greens. 

Similarly, phytochemicals in apple flesh work synergistically with those in the peel to maximize the apple’s anti-cancer properties. To get the most bang for our nutritional buck, food should be eaten in a whole form.

This rule applies to unprocessed sea salt, too. Although little research has been done comparing table salt to unprocessed sea salt, we do know that the sodium in unprocessed sea salt has relationships with a host of macro and micronutrients.

For example, sodium and potassium work together to maintain optimal cellular pressures, manage hydration, and regulate electrical signals throughout the body. The sodium-potassium pump moves sodium out of our cells and brings in potassium; without the proper levels of each working together in harmony, our hearts would not be able to beat, our muscles could not contract, and we could not survive. 

Unprocessed sea salts like those offered by Selina Naturally® contain up to 23% mineral-rich brine and trace elements. While many of these nutrients occur in miniscule amounts, this does not mean that they have no value. For example, Manganese and Zinc, both found in unprocessed sea salt, are showing promise in reducing bone loss and supporting the immune system respectively. In comparison to table salt, unprocessed sea salt is recognized by the body as a whole food. Is it any wonder that the composition of unprocessed sea salt so closely mirrors that of our own internal fluids? 

There are many nutritional relationships we have yet to uncover and understand. It’s only been just short of a decade since scientists learned the importance of lycopene in tomatoes or anthocyanin in blueberries. Perhaps the next great nutritional discovery will be the beneficial effect of the synergistic relationships between trace minerals and elements in unprocessed sea salt. Though we have much to learn, it is increasingly clear that all foods, including salts, are best ingested in a form as close as possible to that in which they naturally occur. For that reason, unprocessed sea salt with high mineral content is the only choice.