Top 10 Amazing Salt Facts
Everyone knows that salt is something that can make any dish instantly tastier, but what do you know about salt facts?
Everyone is also sure to be aware of many of the drawbacks and benefits of salt such as being essential for proper muscle and nerve function, as well as increasing blood pressure and risk of stroke if it is consumed in excess. However, there are many more grains of information about salt of which many people remain unaware.
- Salads may have never existed without salt. The word itself has the Latin word for salt in it, “sal.” This is most likely rooted to the work of the Romans who had the habit of sprinkling salt on their vegetables to preserve them (Jacob & Benzkofer, 2012). Over time, this practice evolved and changed into the rather salt-less salads we’re familiar with today.
- Ever wondered where the expression of someone “not being worth his salt” came from? Again, it was the Romans. Interestingly, salt was sometimes used as currency among Roman soldiers. If a soldier did not perform his duties properly, he would be given less than his usual payment, hence not being worth his salt. This is also where the word “salary” comes from (McCaffery &Anuja, 2019).
- The reason why salt was so valued by the ancients was because of its natural ability to preserve foods like meat and vegetables. Obviously, in a world without any refrigerators, salt preservation was essential if one wanted their food to last more than a few days.
- Many people have heard the superstition that it is bad luck to spill salt, but does anyone know where this superstition came from? Not exactly. However, the most likely origin is likely from Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting, The Last Supper. In this painting, Judas, one of the twelve apostles and the infamous one who betrayed Jesus, appears to be knocking over a small canister of salt (Jacob & Benzkofer, 2012).
- Iodized salt is an important part of one’s diet, but it was not always around forever. Before iodine was added to salt starting in 1924, many more people used to suffer from goiter, a medical condition involving an enlarged thyroid gland due to a deficiency of iodine in the diet (Jacob & Benzkofer, 2012).
- Ironically, despite the widespread effort of people trying to eliminate salt from their diets for health reasons, we can never escape salt completely. The human body on average contains 250g of salt which is the equivalent of a half a pound (McCaffery &Anuja, 2019).
- Furthermore, people shouldn’t try to completely rid salt from their diet. While lowering salt intake may be beneficial for those suffering from high blood pressure and may be helpful for reducing risk of stroke and heart attack in the long term, consuming too little salt can be detrimental to normal body function. Hyponatremia, or low blood sodium levels, can lead to serious neurologic complications such as seizures, brain swelling, and coma, as well as symptoms of dehydration and even death (Palsdottir, 2020).
- Many people may be familiar with the Dead Sea, a body of water so salty that its very name insinuates its lifelessness. However, this is not the saltiest body of water in the world. In fact, the saltiest resides in Antarctica and is named the Don Juan Pond, although considering its small size of 10 cm, it is more of a puddle than a pond. Even so, because of its high salt content, this water never freezes (McCaffery &Anuja, 2019).
- Regressing for a moment back to salt’s great ancient value, the city of Venice in Italy was able to become such an influential trading hub thanks in large part to the salt trade (McCaffery &Anuja, 2019).
- While many people may cut out salt from their diet to keep heart disease at bay, ironically, reducing salt intake may not do much to help this issue. Too little salt may even increase the risk of heart disease. This is likely because there is a not enough salt in the body for essential oxygen and blood function (Palsdottir, 2020).
Jacob, Mark, & Benzkofer, Stephan. (2012). “10 things you might not know about salt.” ChicagoTribune. https://www.chicagotribune.com/ct-per-10things-salt-story.html.
McCaffery, Jen, & Anuja, Naorem. (2019) “12 Amazing Facts About Salt.” Reader’s Digest. https://www.readersdigest.in/odds-and-ends/story-12-amazing-facts-about-salt-124875.
Palsdottir, Hrefna. (2020). “6 Little-Known Dangers of Restricting Sodium Too Much.” Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-dangers-of-sodium-restriction.
This was most interesting. I did not know most of these facts. Great article!🌞