Agent Nateur, Beauty News
Salt: the critical mineral for your health
Salt: the critical mineral for your health
Salt gets a bad rap, but it’s actually critical for your health. Comprised of two essential minerals, sodium and chloride, salt is a necessary nutrient for many functions within the human body.
Refined, processed salt is what you want to avoid. It’s not a whole food, as its valuable trace elements are removed and it’s heated to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, leaving 100 percent sodium chloride plus industrial additives such as aluminum, anti-caking agents, and dextrose which stain the salt purple. The salt is then bleached to give it its pure white sheen. Consuming this highly processed salt upsets fluid balance and dehydrates cells, not to mention the harmful effects of the additives and bleach residues.
Unrefined salt in the form of sea salt, Himalayan salt and naturally occurring salt in foods such as celery, raw leafy greens, coconut water, sea vegetables, lemons and limes, provides the body with the vital minerals it needs. But the naturally occurring salt found in foods is by far the best form of salt to nourish your body with.
One of the important roles salt plays within the body is how it assists the immune system. Salt is nature’s most ancient antibacterial and has been used for thousands of years to preserve food. It kills bacteria through osmosis. So, if there’s a high concentration of salt outside of a bacterial cell, water inside the bacteria diffuses out of the cell, leading to dehydration, and eventually death of the bacteria.
The chloride in salt is used by the body to make hydrochloric acid, helping to form stomach acid, which kills pathogens and absorbs nutrients. Without stomach acid, you wouldn’t be able to absorb the nutrients necessary to fight off infections. It’s also used by immune cells, called neutrophils, to secrete hypochlorous acid, which also kills pathogens. Chloride helps to form a substance called taurine chloramine, which is used to reduce inflammation once the neutrophils have used hypochlorous acid to kill pathogens. So, chloride is used by both the stomach and immune cells to kill pathogens.
Aside from ingesting salt, gargling saltwater, inhaling salt and irrigating the nasal passageways with salt can also be very beneficial when it comes to fighting infections.
According to a clinical scientific study from Pubmed, bathing in magnesium-rich Dead Sea salt improves skin barrier function, enhances skin hydration and reduces inflammation in atopic dry skin. This was one of the reasons we formulated holi (bath) with magnesium, Dead Sea salt and pink Himalayan salt.
Gargling saltwater helps to thin out mucus and has direct antimicrobial effects. To create a highly concentrated salt solution, use 1/3-1/2 teaspoon of salt per 3.5 oz of water. Gargling with this solution 2-3 times per day can significantly improve throat mucus. Swishing the solution around in your mouth and teeth can help improve canker sores, gingivitis, periodontics and cavities.
Saline Nasal Irrigation
Using a neti pot to flush warm salty water through the nasal cavities is an effective treatment for nasal congestion, acute sinus infection, chronic sinusitis, rhinitis caused by seasonal allergies and colds, as well as viral upper respiratory congestion. Many users also report a better sense of smell and taste after a neti pot session. Make sure to use sterile or distilled water when using a neti pot. Neti pots usually come with saline packets to create an isotonic/hypertonic solution, but if you decide to make your own saline solution be sure to use non iodized salt in the form of unrefined sea salt or Himalayan salt. Add ½ teaspoon of sea salt or Himalayan salt to 8 oz of sterilized water.
The inhalation of salt microparticles above ground is known as halotherapy. Halotherapy, which mimics the environment of salt caves, was first recognized as a potential therapy in 1842 by a Polish physician, Dr. Feliks Boczkowski, who observed that salt miners rarely experienced respiratory problems. The salt helps to break up mucus and other airway pathways, which enables the elimination of infectious particles.
There are both dry and wet versions of halotherapy. The dry method incorporates dry salt microcrystals and is free of humidity. The wet method involves nebulizing salt water.
Sitting in a salt room and inhaling microscopic salt particles has been shown to help treat asthma, bronchitis, lung disease, respiratory allergies, and chronic ear infections. It is also known to relieve cystic fibrosis, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Halotherapy is also effective at improving enlarged adenoids and tonsils and has even been suggested as a top treatment for bacterial vaginosis. A randomized study has shown that it can even improve immune system function by increasing lymphocytes, immunoglobins and neutrophil phagocytosis.
Note: Because the majority of sea salts contain microplastics, make sure you are using a clean one.