While we cannot really avoid salt for culinary and other purposes, there are benefits as well as drawbacks of consuming salts. However, here are few tidbits on salt:
· Salt was so valuable in ancient Rome that soldiers were sometimes paid with it. In fact, the word ‘salary’ comes from the Latin word sal, for salt. When a soldier was doing a lousy job, his pay cheque might be cut, which is how we got the expression “not worth his salt”.
· Historically, salt’s value came from its ability to preserve food. Venice, in Italy, may be famous for its canals now, but salt imports fuelled its rise as an influential trade power by the end of the 13th century.
· Sea salt may sound healthier than table salt, but both contain roughly the same proportion of sodium—about 40 per cent. If you are looking for sodium-free flavouring, try garlic, pepper, oregano, sage, rosemary and other spices or herbs.
· Still, we all need at least some salt. It facilitates the transport of nutrients and oxygen, allows nerves to transmit messages and helps our muscles work. The average adult’s body contains about 250 g of sodium—the equivalent of about three or four shakers of salt.
· The Dead Sea, around 10 times saltier than seawater, is only the fifth saltiest body of water on earth. The Don Juan Pond, a 10-cm puddle in Antarctica, is the saltiest. A salinity level of over 40 per cent ensures that its waters rarely freeze!