That one ingredient that is the ultimate tastemaker, the element that completes all the recipes, has been dominating the kitchen for an eternity. Yes, we are talking about none other than ‘salt’.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that salt is the soul of the kitchen as it imparts a distinct flavor to the food. In simple terms, salt is a necessary component for cooking; we just can't complete a dish without it.
But lately, salt has been at the receiving end of a lot of flak and criticism. The scientific community has pointed out the health hazards caused by consuming excess salt. The learned have said that “everything in excess is opposed to nature”. I believe, there couldn’t be wiser words spoken. A high intake of salt makes a person prone to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
Agreed that the king of seasonings has its cons when consumed in high amounts, but what happens when you drastically lower salt intake? Salt, when consumed below the necessary levels can cause health issues. Low blood pressure and bad cholesterol are some of the major health issues that are caused due to lower salt intake.
So here are the benefits of consuming salt in the right amount -
Balances The Flavors
When it comes to flavoring a meal, salt has two purposes. To begin with, it counteracts bitterness. Second, it brings out the best in most other flavors in the dish, especially sweetness.
Salt is recognized as a universal flavor enhancer since it reduces bitterness while increasing sweetness and sourness, which is ideal in sweet dishes. However, at larger concentrations, it reduces sweetness and which is beneficial to savory foods.
Because sodium ions target bitter flavor components and decrease them, sweet flavors appear to be stronger. Salt makes bitter foods more pleasant for the same reason.
An Important Preservative
We are often warned against preservatives but here’s some news! Not all preservatives are harmful, in fact, sometimes preservatives are essential.
Salt is a natural preservative that has been used to preserve meat, fish, dairy products, and a variety of other foods for ages. Slating, like pickling, was employed to keep food safe to eat long before refrigerators were invented.
Salt brine dehydrates bacterial cells, changes osmotic pressure, and inhibits bacterial growth in meals, prolonging the time it takes for food to degrade.
It prevents the growth of Clostridium botulinum, the organism that causes botulism, a deadly form of food poisoning. Salt helps to keep food fresher for longer, making it safer to eat.
Controls the Fermentation
Salt inhibits fermentation in baked goods by reducing the growth of bacteria, and yeast, limiting wild fermentation. This is essential for producing a consistent product and avoiding the risk of dangerous microorganisms.
Salt aids the formation of flavoring, form, and texture in cheese by ensuring the dominance of the desirable organisms, controlling the rate of lactic acid fermentation, and assisting the development of flavoring, body, and texture. This is largely responsible for the flavor and texture of cheeses like stilton.
Now you know who’s your best friend when you are cooking your next fermented meal.
I think you are convinced about the importance of salt in your kitchen and diet. Now let me throw light on how little intake of salt can harm your health.
According to new research, eating too little salt may actually raise the risk of heart disease. People must understand that if they do not get enough salt, their bodies will not work properly.
Read on to know the health benefits of salt (when consumed in moderation) -
Salt is beneficial to your diet when used in moderation. If you believe that adding a little salt to your diet will harm your health and increase your waist inch, you should know that there are certain advantages of consuming salt in a favorable amount. Salt certainly aids the digestive and absorption processes.
Salt aids digestion by assisting in the breakdown of meals. Hydrochloric acid is also produced by salt. The stomach walls are lined with hydrochloric acid, which is a key digesting secretion. Thus, salt helps your body digest meals.
Keeps You Hydrated
When it comes to hydration, it is no ordinary salt that should be considered, it is the sea salt that boosts your hydration.
Salt aids in the absorption of water and the body's ability to stay hydrated for extended periods of time. Reduces fluid retention - Sea salt contains minerals like potassium and sodium, which aid in the release of trapped water.
Also, sea salt is high in minerals like potassium and sodium, which aid in the release of trapped water. Adding a pinch of sea salt to your food might aid digestion and prevent bloating (best not to add table salt to food or eat food high in preservatives).
The Bottom Line
Moderation is the key! Salt is not only the king of seasonings, it is also a key component in maintaining our health. Salt is one of those foods where you have to define which type you're talking about in order to make the best choice. The difference between table salt and sea salt is significant. Make sure you use the right salt in the right quantity to enjoy its benefits.
1. What happens if you eat no salt?
Too little salt can be harmful to one's health, and most people don't need to follow this diet. Muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness are all symptoms of low sodium levels in the body.
2. Is it good to eat salt every day?
For optimal health, everyone requires salt. A tiny amount of sodium is required by the human body to carry nerve impulses, contract and relax muscles, and maintain adequate water and mineral balance. For these critical tasks, we require approximately 500 mg of sodium every day.