Sea salt is made through the evaporation off of seawater or salty lakes. Unlike table salt which is mined naturally from the earth and processed to clean it and add anti-clumping agents, sea salt is largely mined by machines and chemically altered to improve its clarity and improve its salt content. Its process of extraction also results to the accumulation of fine lumps of minerals along the surface of the salt. These mineral layers, when taken together, give the salt its characteristic cloudy appearance.
The fine lumps of minerals are known as micro-organisms or trace minerals. These fine particles are actually waste products left behind by animals and plants that washed away along the sea floor. When these minerals come in contact with air or water and are breathed in, they usually get mixed up with other airborne particles. Because of their composition, micro-organisms and trace minerals tend to cling on to each other like magnets and may form a coarse salt, commonly referred to as sea salt. Since microorganisms like micro-organisms and trace minerals are present in minute quantities, this coarse salt can have a large amount of these natural elements in a relatively small amount of salt.
However, the fine dust-like trace amounts of these trace minerals found in sea salt are too small to be of any benefit to humans. The minerals do not help our bodies in any way, since they are too dense and have little effect. They do not, however, add any health benefits to us. We need to consume much more to achieve any health improvement.
One way we consume sea salt is through a salt lick. This is where you use a special container that is filled with trace amounts of various minerals such as potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc and others. Sometimes it is also combined with pink Himalayan salt. Pink Himalayan is a special type of salt mined from an area of the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains, where natural mineral deposits predominate.
Salt has been mined since antiquity. It was used by ancient civilizations to season their food and in Ancient Greece, was used as a remedy for heart ailments. In today's world table salt is used mainly for seasoning foods, although it is also used as an oxidizer. Oxidizers, as they are called, help prevent food from oxidation rust and thus preserve them. Salt is also added to detergents and other cleaning supplies because of its effectiveness in removing organic material.
Pink Himalayan salt is highly sought after because of its fine pink colour and because of the trace minerals it contains. Each mineral in trace amounts is very important to our health, because each contributes to a healthy bone density, weight and blood pressure level. The pink colour comes from trace amounts of magnesium, manganese and calcium. Other trace minerals are selenium, zinc and iodine.
Because it contains so many trace minerals, Himalayan pink salt has become one of the world's favourite natural products. Its popularity is largely attributed to its ability to stimulate trace mineralization, to help reduce stress and to promote a healthy immune system. When added to the diet, it can enhance weight loss, lower blood pressure, increase energy and improve the function of the immune system. It is believed that it can also reduce cancer risk.
One of the most exciting benefits of this pink colouration of Himalayan salt is its antioxidant potential. This salt contains two types of antioxidants, with each class having different levels of activity. The greater amount of flavonoids (the catechins) found in this salt gives it the potential to protect cells from damage by free radicals. The high levels of selenium and zinc also contribute to its antioxidant potential.