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SALT BECOMES Y O U
- Salt is life itself: We each have about eight ounces of salt inside us. It’s vital for regulating muscle contraction, heartbeat, nerve impulse transmission, protein digestion and the exchange of water between cells, so as to bring food in and waste out. Deprived of salt, the body goes into convulsion, paralysis, and death.
- Hypertension and salt: Baby food makers have learned they can sell more if they salt it. Why? Because mothers are the ones who buy it and they like the taste better. Critics say babies don’t need the salt and that hooking them on it early in life predisposes them to high blood pressure.
- Salt can be poison: It’s healthy to eat about a third of an ounce of salt a day. If you eat more than four ounces at once, you’ll die.
- Strangely enough, salt is made of two elements—sodium and chlorine—which, if put in your mouth by themselves, will either blow up (sodium) or poison you (chlorine). But merged into a compound—sodium chloride—they change into an essential of life. The salty taste comes from the chlorine—which is also vital for making the hydrochloric acid which digests food in our stomach.
- Scientists once thought the oceans were salty because rivers constantly washed salt out of soil and carried it to sea. But then they found pools of seawater trapped in underground sediments millions of years ago that shows the ocean has always been about as salty as it is now.
- We can never run out of salt. There’s enough in the oceans to cover the world 14 inches deep.
- Salt is the only mineral that can be mined by turning it into a liquid (by pumping water in). Then they pump out the brine and turn it back into a solid by evaporation.
- Salt is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs water. That’s why you can’t drink seawater; it will dehydrate you. Salt is one of the four things the tongue can taste (the others are sweet, sour and bitter). Only sweet and bitter are inborn; salt is an acquired taste.
- The hypothalamus at the base of the brain. It measures sodium and potassium in body fluids. When they get too high (from either not drinking enough water or eating too much salt), it triggers the sensation of thirst.
- Only 5 percent of the salt we mine goes into food. The rest goes into making chemicals.
- When salt is made by vigorous boiling, it forms cubic crystals, but when it’s naturally dried, it makes pyramid-shaped crystals. The pyramid-shaped crystal is particularly sought after for kosher use and in fine cooking.
- It takes four gallons of seawater to make a pound of salt.
- Salt is often found with oil and is often used by oil companies as an indicator of where to drill.
- For centuries, salt was served in a bowl, not a shaker. It couldn’t be shaken, since it absorbs water and sticks together. The Morton Salt Co. changed that in 1910 by covering every grain with chemicals that keep water out—thus its famous slogan, “When it rains, it pours.”
- The water in our bodies (we’re 70% water) has the same saltiness as the seas from which we evolved. The amniotic fluid surrounding fetuses in the womb is essentially salt water.
- In Scandinavia, knocking over salt is considered bad luck… if the salt gets wet.
- In some cultures, people believe that since salt corrodes, it destroys evil. As protection, they wear a sachet of salt around their necks and sprinkle it on brooms before sweeping their homes.
- Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans all salted their sacrifices.
- Bedouins won’t attack a man if they’ve eaten his salt.