Sea salt is chemically similar to normal salt but it is produced from sea water, usually by building special pools near a sheltered shoreline in order to allow the water to evaporate. While normal table salt has a 99.9% percentage of sodium chloride, the one produced from sea water is less pure, with a content of 98%. Traces of other minerals, usually magnesium, sulfur, iron and iodine, make up the remaining 2%. Natural sea salt is very clean when compared to normal salt, which is produced by mining and has additions of potassium iodide or anti-caking agents. Rabbis also consider it Kosher, so it can be safely consumed by religious Jews.
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There are many people who believe sea salt to be tastier than the regular table salt. It is widely used in Thai and French cuisine and also serves as a crust for baked potatoes, although chefs sometimes employ kosher salt for this purpose. Despite having almost the same chemical composition as table salt, sea salt has a milder taste, so more of it must be added to achieve the same effect. Since it is harder to produce, it also costs more. Some people think that the taste doesn't justify a higher price.
It also serves as an ingredient in many cosmetics, especially in products used as scrubs or exfoliants. Since it is a natural product, sea salt is also included in some skin products and foundations that are labelled as organic and sold for higher prices. Due to the natural crystals in its composition, sea salt is a useful base for products against perspiration. Sea salt is the major ingredient of bath salt combinations.
During the production of sea salt, a quantity of trace minerals is removed in the early stages. These are an additional source of income for the companies that produce it. The minerals are often sold to firms that produce vitamin supplements. Sodium carbonate is a common ingredient in the chemicals used for water purification. Some special types of sea salt are needed by saltwater aquarium operators, in order to conserve a correct salinity.
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If sea salt is produced by organic means, it sometimes keeps some of the features of its original location. Some varieties of sea salt have a mild pink color, while salt produced in French marshes might be grey. The best chefs have their own favourite salt sea region and can identify it based on its taste. Some of the most expensive gourmet recipes require salt from a particular area, even if in reality all salt tastes basically the same.
Since sea salt is produced through evaporation, there is very little processing involved. It keeps most of its content of natural minerals, as well as the moisture. Due to their natural origin, these trace minerals are more easily absorbed by the human body. The actual composition of sea salt is variable and the amount of minerals as well as their quality depends on the region where the salt comes from.
Evaporation of seawater is the source of sea salt but there are two different production methods. Natural evaporation due to sun action in direct pools is considered to be the organic way. Using a vacuum technology speeds up the process considerably. The more expensive types of sea salt are the ones produced through sun evaporation. Since there is no processing at all, the salt obtained in this way includes very healthy trace minerals needed by our body. It is also considered to have superior flavour and its natural color makes it an interesting cooking ingredient. It is also preferred for quality cosmetics.
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Sea salt is produced in many areas of the world but the traditional hubs are the Mediterranean Sea, the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Harvesting the salt by evaporation maintains most of its natural healing power. The therapeutic properties of sea salt have been known and used since ancient times. Sea salt can improve cellular metabolism and repair various types of damage. Fishermen have used it for ages in order to heal their wounds and especially hand injuries.
A special type of sea salt, harvested using old Celtic methods, is named Celtic sea salt. Only wooden tools can be employed and harvesting is done exclusively by hand. No additives or chemicals of any kind are added to it. Normal table salt needs these in order to prevent the formation of hard clumps.
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The lack of added chemicals makes sea salt very healthy, especially since no heat treatment is used so all the minerals remain in its composition. It is a natural balancer of acids and can remove them if present inside the body. The balance is very important and prevents a number of very serious diseases.
Sea salt is also useful in weight loss diets, even if few people are aware of this fact. It improves the efficiency of digestion by allowing the stomach to produce more digestive juices. These process the food faster and reduce the risk of any accumulation in the intestines, which contributes to weight gain.
Sea salt is traditionally used for its skin benefits. A bath with sea salt can treat severe problems like psoriasis or eczema but also common issues such as dry skin or itchiness. Sea salt moisturizes the skin and opens its pores, allowing water to penetrate and hydrate the deeper tissues. Scars on the surface of skin and diseases like dermatitis are healed quicker due to the sulfur content of the sea salt.
The Dead Sea has a much higher concentration of minerals than other seas and its therapeutic effects on the skin were used since ancient times. Adding Dead Sea salt in your bath water will increase skin hydration and make it smoother. It can heal any kind of skin inflammation or roughness and also makes it a more effective barrier against toxins and pathogens. Scientists have discovered that the magnesium content is behind the anti-inflammatory effects of Dead Sea salt. This special salt also boosts blood circulation and eliminates toxins from the body by opening up skin pores.
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Sea salt is also well known for treating respiratory system inflammation, which is very helpful against asthma. It allows easier breathing by reducing the production of phlegm. Compared with other treatments for asthma, it has no negative side effects. An alternative to inhaling is to simply drink a glass of water and then put some sea salt on your tongue, which is said to be very effective.
Sea salt is also beneficial for the heart. Drinking a saline solution can reduce high blood pressure, balance erratic heartbeat and prevent high cholesterol levels. As a result, the risk of heart attacks, strokes, atherosclerosis and other similar issues is reduced.
The bones have the highest concentration of salt in the body, more than one quarter of the total amount. The body takes salt from bones when the supply is low, which weakens them and can cause osteoporosis. A proper amount of salt in your diet is essential for your bone structure and you can prevent osteoporosis by drinking a lot of water and consuming salt with moderation.
Another mineral found in sea salt is potassium, which is required by our muscles. Sea salt improves the absorption of potassium from other sources, besides the trace amount directly provided. A lack of potassium can lead to spasms, muscle pain and cramps.
Sea salt was also found to benefit the nervous system and prevent depression in particular. Two of the most important hormones that help reduce stress are regulated by the minerals in salt: serotonin and melatonin. These provide better sleep and allow you to properly relax after a stressful day.
Sea salt is also essential for the proper balance of fluids and hydration. Sodium regulates the amount of water in the body because it directly influences it: too much sodium means too much water as well, while a lack of sodium causes dehydration. This can initially lead to extreme thirst and later to very serious consequences.
Including sea salt in your regular diet will supply enough sodium for a proper balance between the levels of sodium and potassium, which is very important. These electrolytes, the minerals sodium and potassium, maintain the balance of fluids everywhere in the human tissues, including the cell fluid and blood plasma.
Unrefined sea salt is packed with natural minerals due to the lack of processing and is extremely rich in electrolytes. Electrolytes are a number of minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium or magnesium that are needed by the body processes. Sea salt supplies all of these, so it is a great natural source.
Electrolytes are involved in many body functions. Every muscle contraction needs them and any imbalance causes cramps and irregular heartbeat. In order to maintain a balance of electrolytes, only eat sea salt in moderate amounts. A lack of electrolytes or too much of them can even have lethal effects.
Salt is also needed for proper digestion and a poor supply of it can severely disrupt it. Without enough salt, the body is unable to produce the normal amount of hydrochloric acid (HCL) in the stomach, which is key for digesting food. Without it, the entire digestive system stops functioning. The main building block of this acid is chloride, a compound found in sea salt, so consuming it will allow the body to produce the right quantity.
Rhinosinusitis is another condition that can be effectively treated using a Dead Sea solution, according to several studies. Researchers have compared the effects of nasal irrigation and sprays with a hypertonic saline solution with the ones of sea salt and concluded that the second one is superior. Dead Sea salt is also an excellent natural alternative in the treatment of respiratory allergies and other nasal issues due to its anti-inflammatory effects. Unlike nasal steroids, it has no negative side effects and doesn't increase the secretion of mucus. Dead Sea salt also relieves nasal congestion and swelling, due to the trace minerals in its composition.
The same benefits can be used to soothe the entire body. Bathing in warm water with sea salt calms down your mind and promotes healthy sleep. It is also known to reduce salivation during sleep, which can be a cause for dehydration.
Few people are aware that sea salt can actually prevent baldness and boost hair growth. A simple way to use its power is to massage your scalp with a sea salt solution, which will allow it to reach the hair follicles while increasing blood circulation to the area.
Sea salt is the main component needed for the production of digestive acid. A proper supply of it will allow the stomach to extract nutrients like folate, vitamin B12, calcium, zinc and iron from the food we eat. As a result, less of these essential vitamins and minerals are lost. Quality food is not very useful without a digestive system that works properly and is able to actually process it.
Due to the content of fluoride, sea salt also improves the health of our teeth. This mineral is able to protect them from various acids that attack it and cause cavities. Gargling with sea salt water makes use of its strong anti-inflammatory properties, which is helpful against many conditions. Sea salt can cure sore throats as well as mouth sores, bleeding gums and ulcers.
Clinical tests have revealed that salts from the Dead Sea can provide relief to people who are affected by rheumatoid arthritis. Normal sodium chloride baths are also good for this purpose but the Dead Sea ones appear to be much more powerful, due to the increased amount of minerals with a natural anti-inflammatory action.