Sunday, November 14, 2010

Iodized Salt treated Goitre in the 1920's

Most people today understand to stay away from processed salt, table salt & processed foods that are high in processed sodium, this is good. The message that needs to be understood more clearly is that unrefined or unprocessed sea salt is good for us and we need it. There is a clear distinction between unprocessed salt and processed salt and hence a direct difference in their health benefits. Unprocessed or unrefined sea salts are healthy for us, they contain about 80 trace minerals from the ocean in a natural form, which helps the nutrients from our foods be better absorbed & utilized by our bodies. It's the trace minerals that bring our bodies electrolytes that are needed for the communication between our cells and help to balance our 'internal & external cellular fluids'. Unrefined salts, when used regularly, will actually lower blood pressure, not increase it and help to regulate the nervous system.
Sea salt is a term that usually refers to unrefined salt derived directly from a living ocean or sea, but sometimes companies will 'market' their salt as 'sea salt', but process out the minerals. It is usually harvested through channelling ocean water into shallow trays and allow the sun and wind to evaporate it naturally. Unprocessed sea salt still contains natural traces of other minerals, including iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc and traces of iodine. Sea salt is available from all over the world & so has many different flavours colours & textures to experience.
For thousands of years, cultures around the world used and continue to use sea salt directly & unrefined from the ocean or from salt deposits like pink Himalayan salts. Roman soldiers were actually paid in salt, it is the origin of the word 'salary' and where the phrase 'worth your weight in salt' was derived. Many salts have different colours, depending on which part of the world they originate. Unrefined sea salts from France are typically grey in colour and have a very unique flavour. Salts from Hawaii such as Alaea sea salt has darker reddish colour due to the presence of alaea a reddish Hawaiian clay that enriches the salt with iron-oxide. When it comes to Kosher salt, that does not necessarily equate to sea salt & hence it's health benefits. Kosher salt can refer to two types of salt; one is a specific shaped flake salt that is so named for its use in the preparation of meat according to the requirements of Jewish dietary guidelines. The second type of Kosher salt is a salt that has been certified as Kosher by a prestigious organization or certifying body such as the Orthodox Union.

Commercially produced table salt & iodized salt has had the 'goodness' processed out and so the healing trace minerals are gone. Iodine was added to table salt in 1924 in the US and Canada followed suit in 1929, this was done to quell the increasing hyperthyroidism known as goitre that was occurring in alarming numbers in communities that surrounded the Great Lakes. This geographical area became known as the 'Goitre Belt' due to the large incidence of goitre occurring in the population and most specifically in women. Women are at least 6 times more likely to develop goitre because their need for iodine is higher than what men require. The Goitre Belt has increased both geographically & numerically in size to include states & provinces that don't border on the ocean. Almost a hundred years after iodine was added to salt to reduce thyroidism inside the 'Goitre Belt', most doctors today are unaware of the history & effectiveness of iodine's use in treating this disease. Since a lack of iodine in the body shows a direct relation to developing both hyperthyroidism & hypothyroidism, it was utilized since the 11th century around the world to combat this condition very successfully. What's interesting is that if you're wanting to increase your iodine, using iodized salt is not the best approach, since the chloride from the processed salt, NaCl, competes for absorption in the body with the iodine. To absorb what the body requires, a lot of iodized salt would be needed to get any measurable amounts of iodine into the body. Since we all now know about the health dangers of ingesting processed salt these days, look for other methods for iodine supplementation to get your iodine, like Lugol's solution, which has been around since 1829. So you can't use too much of the 'good unprocessed salt' in your diet, just use to taste and enjoy the healthy benefits you'll soon be receiving with every mouthful.