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By Corinna Underwood, HoneyColony Original

Salt’s ability to preserve food has played a crucial role in the development of civilization. People have traded it as a currency and even fought for it. Today, table salt is accessible, relatively cheap, and mixed with a minute amount of the trace mineral iodine.

Salt (sodium chloride) is an essential nutrient and your body is unable to produce it, so it’s an important part of your daily diet. Your blood contains 0.9 percent salt. It plays a vital role in regulating water balance, osmotic pressure, and pH. It is also crucial for healthy nerve impulses, heartbeat, protein digestion, and the transportation of carbon dioxide to the lungs.

If you experience a sodium deficiency (hyponatremia), you will soon begin to notice nausea, headache, loss of appetite, irritability, and muscle weakness. As the condition worsens, symptoms may include muscle spasms or seizures, eventually leading to loss of consciousness and coma.

According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, people should limit their daily intake of sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day—or 1,500 mg if above age 51. In spite of this, according to Harvard School of Public Health, the average American adult piles on the salt, consuming around 3,400 mg of sodium on a daily basis. As you can imagine, high sodium intake leads to a number of health problems including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, making it crucial to keep a careful eye on your sodium intake.

Don’t In Salt Me

Maintaining a healthy sodium level is not just about monitoring your salt intake, it’s also important to know a little about the type of salt you’re sprinkling on your food. One of the most common forms of sodium is table salt. Mined from salt deposits, this type is then heavily processed to give it its fine texture. The element iodine is also added. Unfortunately, the refining process also strips it of any natural minerals it may have previously contained.

Table salt is typically extracted by solution mining. In this process, a well is erected over a salt bed and water is injected into the salt deposit. The resulting brine is pumped from the well and transported to an evaporation plant. Solution mining can sometimes have a negative impact on the surrounding environment if the salt solution leaches into the groundwater. If this happens, it can kill the surrounding vegetation and affect the indigenous wildlife.

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3 salts in 2 oz. bottles • rich in magnesium and potassium

Sea salt, on the other hand, is obtained by evaporating water from the ocean. This process often relies on solar power and does not cause any environmental impact. Because it does not undergo processing, sea salt retains valuable minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Many people choose sea salt over ordinary table salt because they believe that it is lower in sodium, but this is seldom the case, according to Dr. Janet Brill, a Pennsylvania-based nutritionist and award-winning author of Blood Pressure Down: the 10-step program to lower your blood pressure in 4 weeks–without prescription drugs. “By weight, both table salt and sea salt contain the same amount of blood-pressure-raising sodium. The difference lies in the fact that sea salt has a coarser grain than table salt, meaning that sea salt contains slightly less sodium by volume. In other words, 1/4 teaspoon of table salt yields about 590 mg of sodium compared to sea salt which contains about 400 to 590 mg sodium per ¼ teaspoon. The fact is that sea salt still packs a huge sodium wallop,” says Brill.

One exception is Kona sea salt from the Hawaiian Islands. This form contains up to 33 percent less sodium than other salts. Sandra Gibson, owner of the Hawaiian Islands Trading Company, is worth her weight in salt. While living in Hawaii for a number of years, she developed an awareness and appreciation of the deep cultural roots of Hawaiian sea salt.

“It has traditionally been, and still is, used to bless voyaging canoes, babies, tools, new ventures, and also to preserve abundant catches. Still in Hawaii, as in many cultures, a gift of salt is considered a special gesture of good luck and blessing,” says Gibson.

With vibrant entrepreneurial spirit, she developed the Hawaiian Islands Trading Company after returning to Hawaii in 2009 from New Jersey, where she worked for a private aviation company. Her aim was to “educate people on the significance of Hawaiian Salt and give the salts a nice little package to get out into the world.”

Today, Hawaiian Kona is one of the most popular of the company’s four varieties of sea salt with a sodium content of 20.70 percent. It has several minerals that regular table salt does not have, such as calcium, copper, iron, potassium, and zinc. The sea salt also has more moisture, which along with the minerals enhances the flavor.

In addition to Kona, Hawaiian Islands offers healthful Ohe Sea Salt, a unique blend containing bamboo extract, which is one of the largest natural sources of silica. Silica strengthens tendons, bones, ligaments, and skin.

Meanwhile, their Uahi Salt contains activated charcoal from burning coconut shells. Sandra points out that “the burning process activates the charcoal by creating little pores that have the ability to bind and attract harmful substances and filter toxins out of the human body.”

If you want even more health benefits from your salt, check out Hawaiian Island’s Alea. Composed of more than 80 different minerals, this variety is not only a flavorful addition to your meals, but also a rich source of iron, drawn from Hawaiian clay, which lends it a unique red hue.

As well as doing their utmost to bring healthy sources of sodium to your table, the Hawaiian Islands Trading Company is also striving to serve the environment. The Trading Company contributes one percent of proceeds to the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. The funding helps to maintain the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Known as “the rainforests of the sea,” this mixed World Heritage Site is an area of profound beauty covering almost 140,000 square miles and providing a natural habitat for over 7,000 marine species including rare species such as the threatened green turtle and the endangered Hawaiian monk seal. It is the largest conservation area under the U.S. flag.

Sandra Gibson and her team continue to reflect the ancient roots and cultural role of the Hawaiian Islands with their range of gourmet sea salts. Most recently the company launched a line of Hawaiian Sea Salts with locally grown ingredients such as leeks, garlic, peppers, and onions. In the near future, Gibson plans to form a partnership with an organization that supports local farming to encourage a greater market for local produce. Hawaiian Islands Trading Company strives to help you enjoy healthy meals and to be kind to your body, while protecting the planet.

Corinna Underwood has been a published author for more than a decade. Her non-fiction has been published in many outlets including Fox News, Life Extension, Chronogram, After Dark and Alive. She is also the author of Haunted History of Atlanta and North Georgia and Murder and Mystery in Atlanta, and the collection of mystery stories Walk On The Darkside.

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