Living and Thriving Gluten Free

Healthy & Gluten Free

Categories: Spices & Herbs

Salt is a mineral that is most commonly obtained from dissolving sea water, or from mining from the earth.

Salt in a wooden bowl
Image by: Awesomecontent

Refined salt is made with the use of a number of different chemicals, mostly as anticaking agents, including sodium aluminosilicate, magnesium carbonate, sodium ferrocyanide (yellow prussiate of soda), tricalcium phosphate, calcium carbonates, fatty acid salts (acid salts), magnesium oxide, silicon dioxide, calcium silicate, and calcium aluminosilicate.

These chemicals are detrimental at varying levels. Since they are not added to make the food more nutritious, refined salt is not considered Real food.

This is the type of salt used in virtually all packaged food. If it is unrefined, it will actually say so on the label.

Various forms of iodine is added to US and Canadian salt. This is actually not a harmful additive, in general. It prevents goiter, which historically has been a health issue in some countries. If you need to avoid iodine, then choose salt with no added iodine, or even no iodine at all, if necessary (you'll need to investigate further to determine this).

Gourmet salts
Several different colored salt in little piles
Image by: Larry Hoffman
Refined salt is generally the only type with added iodine in it. But if you find unrefined salt with only added iodine, you can use it and consider it a Real food.

When looking at using Real salt, look for unrefined. There are a number of different gourmet salts that are hand crafted via evaporation that are nice quality. With some investigating, you can find very clean, uncontaminated sources.

There is also Himalayan salt that many consider a healthy source of salt. It is generally unrefined. There is some debate as to the quality, and the exact makeup of the other minerals found in it. If you find a source of it you like, then go ahead and use it. It's largest benefit is that it does not have added chemicals, and has a wide range of other minerals. If you want the other minerals, then this is a good option.

Himalayan salt
Himilayan pink salt on a plate with a wooden scoop
Image by: Anna Sulencka
Since salt is used in such small quantities in the home, it is not overly expensive to try out some other gourmet salts.

As always, read the label. You don't want any added ingredients (except iodine). If it is refined, it does not need to list the chemicals used in the refining process, but the word "refined" will tell you that something was used.

Unrefined salt, that does not have anticaking agents added will absorb moisture from the environment, and will clump up. This is not bad, it's just not quite as pretty. You can use a salt grinder to counter some of this. Also, you can put much less of it in your salt shaker / grinder for daily use. Then you can periodically wash the shaker / grinder and put fresh salt in it. Store the excess salt in an air tight container. If it clumps up and becomes moist to the touch (or even leaks in humid climates), you can lay it on a cookie sheet in the oven to dry it out.

Below are some interesting videos on salt, and how it's made, as well as some interesting websites with varying types of info.

Note that these are NOT affiliate links. They are simply interesting sites I ran across.

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