Salt In Our Daily Life
Salt is an important ingredient in our diet for the maintenance of good health. Essentially every cell in the human body is dependent on the presence of sodium. We find sodium diffused throughout the fluid between cells. Each cell in our body contains salty water. Natural salt is the key element that helps to regulate the water content in the body. Salt is important because our bodies need elements for proper functions. These elements are usually not found in food or nutritional supplements in a form that the body can utilise. Sea salt or table salt both can be used and are same. The difference between sea salt and table salt is in their processing. Sea salt is produced through evaporation of sea water or salt water lakes with very little processing. Table salt is mined from underground salt deposits. It is heavily processed to eliminate minerals but iodine, an essential nutrient that help maintain a healthy thyroid, is added.
A FEW REMEDIES WITH SALT
■ Certain poisonous insect bites and snake bites are treated with salt and lime mixed together. Press the area to release the poisonous blood and apply on the bite; it immediately works as an anti-dot.
■ Bruises are treated with salt added to garlic paste and tied as bandage.
■ Roasted dry ginger is powdered, added salt and is stored in a bottle. It is given to small children mixed with rice and ghee before the start of the meal to keep them free of indigestion and other stomach-related problems.
■ In case of diarrhea and vomiting patients are advised to drink water mixed with salt and sugar to prevent dehydration.
■ Kala namak mixed with onion extract and curd is a very effective remedy to treat diarrhea.
■ For throat irritation gargling is advised with salt added to warm water.
■ In our childhood we were often given salt mixed with tooth powder to clean teeth as prevention from tooth decay.
■ Raw ginger or azwain mixed with salt is given as a relief from stomach ache due to indigestion, acidity, bloating, burping etc.
■ Salt water is given to drink to clean stomach as an anti-dot to food poisoning.
■ For certain eye problems saline water is advised to clean eyes.
Other uses of salt
♦ Sodium chloride is used as fertilizer on the fields of corn and egg plant.
♦ Coconut trees are treated with salt to protect them from certain infestations by parasites.
♦ Animals are treated with herbs and salt for various diseases.
♦ Salt is used to remove stains of any kind from utensils, tea cups etc.
♦ If salt water is sprinkled before the snowfall, the snow will not stick to the road and it will be easy to clear the road.
♦ Salt water and salt is used even to douse the flames.
♦ Sprinkling salt on leech releases it from its hold on the skin.
IMPORTANCE OF SALT IN OUR BODY: FEW FACTS
Our bodies need salt to maintain healthy levels of insulin. Low salt diets can impair insulin sensitivity. It can reduce the body’s ability to metabolize glucose and leading potentially to type -2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Patients with varying conditions are given saline solution through intravenous in an effort to maintain the electrolytic balance at the cellular level. It is especially necessary where the patient is not able to take the electrolytes by mouth. Due to the declining renal function in the aging body the kidneys retain less sodium. Changes in the intestinal function also sometimes leads to reduced absorption of many nutrients. Hence it is essential for the elderly to maintain a stable sodium level in the body to avoid the risk of hyponatremia.
Iodine deficiency disorders are the major cause of preventable mental retardation. Public health nutrition experts feel that fortifying salt with iodine is the most cost effective solution to this global challenge. Now most of the world’s population is accessible to iodized salt. Too much of sodium is dangerous to health leading to high blood pressure and many other health conditions.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna