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Salt

 

SaltSalt, also known as table salt or rock salt, is a crystalline mineral that is composed primarily of sodium chloride, a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of ionic salts. It is essential for animal life, but can be harmful to animals and plants in excess. Salt is one of the oldest, most ubiquitous food seasonings and salting is an important method of food preservation. The taste of salt  is one of the basic human tastes.

 

Salt for human consumption is produced in different forms: unrefined salt, refined salt (table salt), and iodized salt. It is a crystalline solid, white, pale pink or light gray in color, normally obtained from sea water or rock deposits. Edible rock salts may be slightly grayish in color because of mineral content.

 

Because of its importance to survival, salt has often been considered a valuable commodity during human history. However, as salt consumption has increased during modern times, scientists have become aware of the health risks associated with high salt intake, including high blood pressure in sensitive individuals. Therefore, some health authorities have recommended limitations of dietary sodium, although others state the risk is minimal for typical western diets.

 

 Table salt

  

In many cuisines around the world, salt is used in cooking, and is often found in salt shakers on diners' eating tables for their personal use on food. Table salt is refined salt, which contains about 97 to 99 percent sodium chloride. It usually contains additives that make it free-flowing, anticaking agents such as sodium aluminosilicate or magnesium carbonate. Some people put a desiccant, such as a few grains of uncooked rice or a saltine cracker, in their salt shakers to absorb extra moisture and help break up salt clumps that may otherwise form.

 

Health effects

 


SaltChloride and sodium ions, the two major components of salt, are needed by all known living creatures in small quantities. Salt is involved in regulating the water content (fluid balance) of the body. The sodium ion itself is used for electrical signaling in the nervous system.

 

Salt consumption has increased during modern times and scientists have become aware of the health risks associated with high salt intake, including high blood pressure in sensitive individuals. Therefore, some health authorities have recommended limitations of dietary sodium, although others state the risk is minimal for typical western diets.

 

The United States Department of Health and Human Services recommends that individuals consume no more than 1500–2300 mg of sodium (3750–5750 mg of salt) per day depending on age.

 

Salt is sometimes used as a health aid, such as a high salt diet being used in the treatment of dysautonomia.

 

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt