Second to water, salt is the most essential nutrient for the human body. Unfortunately, salt has received a bad reputation over the years. Studies conducted with incomplete salts have misled many to believe that salt is unhealthy and best avoided. We beg to differ! To be fair, the kind of salt you eat matters greatly. Just as grain-fed beef is not the same as grass-fed beef, refined vegetable oils are not the same as coconut oil, and conventional produce is not the same as organic produce, table salt is not the same as mineral-rich sea salt. The Standard American Diet is deficient in trace minerals across the board. Incorporating good quality salt rich in nutrients and electrolytes is essential for optimal health and can effectively prevent those deficiencies.
The Difference Between Table Salt and Sea Salt
Sea salt contains trace minerals like iron, manganese, copper, iodine, and zinc. It comes from evaporated seawater and is readily available in an unbleached, unrefined form. Conversely, regular table salt comes from mining salt deposits. It is 97.5 percent sodium chloride and 2.5 percent moisture absorbents and anti-caking agents such as potassium ferrocyanide and silicon dioxide. When companies refine table salt, they remove the beneficial trace minerals. When dried at over 1200℉, the excessive heat alters the natural chemical structure of the salt. What remains is chemically cleaned sodium chloride, an unnatural chemical form of salt your body sees as something foreign.
Why the Body Needs Salt
Historically, salt was considered a health-supportive nutrient. That was so much the case that the Latin word for health–”salus”– derives from “sal” (salt). In the Middle Ages, doctors often prescribed salt to treat stomach issues, oral pain, and mental despondence. Fast forward to today, and the benefits of salt are still far-reaching and much more widely researched.
1. Salt improves electrolyte balance.
Did you know your body contains 4-8 ounces of salt at any given time? Adequate salt consumption helps maintain normal blood volume and also helps correct the balance of water in and around our cells and tissues. In this video, Dr. Mitch Sutton explains salt’s important role in maintaining electrolyte balance in our extracellular and intracellular fluid.
In short, consuming sea salt ensures you maintain a sufficient sodium level, which will help balance electrolyte ratios (namely, sodium and potassium). Sodium and potassium work synergistically to maintain the proper balance of fluids in your blood plasma. 
2. Salt supports metabolism and digestion.
Salt plays a vital role in supporting healthy metabolism and blood sugar regulation. Research shows that low-salt diets increase insulin resistance in otherwise healthy individuals. 
Salt also supports digestion. Digestion begins in the mouth by activating salivary enzymes that break down food. The taste of salt contributes to activating these enzymes, namely salivary amylase, and therefore helps trigger the breakdown of nutrients.
Hydrochloric acid, which is secreted in the stomach and assists in the breakdown of food (especially protein), is also significantly supported by adequate sodium levels. Individuals with low hydrochloric acid can experience digestive discomforts such as bloating, heartburn, indigestion, and even more chronic conditions like leaky gut. 
3. Salt promotes optimal brain and nervous system health.
Sodium is an essential nutrient for proper brain and nervous system function. The central nervous system (CNS) requires salt for transmitting electrical signals in the body. Without these signals firing correctly, nearly every process in the body can be disrupted. Salt is necessary for forming and supporting the proper function of nerve fibers, which carry impulses to and from the brain. If this communication system is not working correctly, the brain and nervous system may suffer. 
Symptoms of Electrolyte Deficiency
Sea salt provides electrolytes like sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. From regulating your heartbeat to allowing your muscles to contract and relax for daily movement, electrolytes are essential for optimal health. If you’re deficient in electrolytes, you may experience:
- Lethargy or fatigue
- Restless legs
- Blood sugar imbalance
- Insulin resistance or diabetes
- Thyroid issues
- Adrenal issues
- Kidney stones
- Brain fog
- High blood pressure
- Water retention
If you have limited your salt intake in the past, do not regularly consume high-quality sea salt, drink a lot of water with no electrolytes or salt added, or exercise intensely, there is a good chance you may be electrolyte deficient. How do you reverse or prevent the dangers of electrolyte deficiency? The simplest way is to increase your unrefined, high-quality sea salt intake.
Shopping for Salt
Read labels carefully. Look for sea salt that’s…
- Unrefined. This means the salt will still contain all of its trace minerals. Nothing has been stripped away.
- Unbleached. The salt should be gray. If it’s pure white, it’s bleached.
Selina Naturally Celtic Sea Salt is our salt of choice. We love it for its unrefined nature (nothing added, nothing removed) and exceptional flavor.
Eat More Salt
Incorporating more high-quality salt into your diet comes with an excellent side benefit: your food will taste better! Salt naturally improves the flavor of just about everything it’s added to. In addition to adding it to your savory meals (salads, soups, vegetables, etc.), add a pinch to your morning smoothie, coffee, or tea. A bit of sea salt is also a great way to bump up the flavor dimension of fruit bowls, grapefruit, applesauce, and tomato-based sauces. As we often say here at The Wellness Way, the most accurate way to determine what’s going on with your body is to test. If you suspect you have health issues stemming from imbalanced electrolytes, contact a Wellness Way clinic. We do health differently!
- Sodium-to-potassium ratio and blood pressure, hypertension, and related factors – PubMed (nih.gov)
- Low-salt diet increases insulin resistance in healthy subjects – PubMed (nih.gov)
- 8 Awesome Benefits of Using Sea Salt In Your Diet (whatgreatgrandmaate.com)
- Effects of Hyponatremia on the Brain – PMC (nih.gov)