10 Interesting facts about salt

Salt has been used for seasoning and preserving food for pretty much as long, as humankind has been around. Our bodies do need salt, but most of us now consume too much of it, as it is hidden in many of the foods that we eat, let alone what we sprinkle on top of our fries. You know that too much salt is bad for you and you probably know that salt is either mined from rocks or extracted from the sea, so, here are ten more facts about salt that you might not have known:

1. The recommended daily intake of salt is just 1 teaspoon

For the average adult, the most salt that the USDA recommends you eat is 2,300mg, which is approximately one teaspoon. Quite how anyone can actually check their salt intake is anyone’s guess, because salt is present is many foods from bread to cookies. The best advice is not to add extra salt to food at mealtimes and avoid salty foods like potato chips and other salted snacks.

2. You can overdose on salt

If you eat too much salt in one go it will be fatal. If you were to eat one gram of salt for every kilogram of your own weight, then the salt would kill you. In ancient times, death by salt overdose, used to be the preferred method of suicide by the Chinese nobility.

3. Salt used to be a precious commodity

Before salt was so readily available as it is today, it was so valuable that people called it white gold. Right up to the early 20th century, one pound bars of salt were still used in Ethiopia as the basic form of currency.

4. All salt contains the same amount of sodium

Many people believe that sea salt and kosher salt are better for you, because they contain less sodium, but this is not true, as all salt contains the same amount of sodium. The truth is though that a teaspoon of table salt will contain more salt than a teaspoon of sea salt, because the grains are finer.

5. Salt kills fleas

If your dog or cat has brought fleas into the home, then a light dusting of salt on your carpets will kill them off. Sprinkle salt over your carpets and leave it on for twelve hours and then vacuum it up again.

6. Salt free does not mean salt free

Be wary of foods that are labelled salt free or sodium free, because they may not be what they appear to be. To be able to use that claim in the US, for example, the food must contain less than 5mg of sodium, so it is not strictly salt free.

7. Roman soldiers were not paid in salt

It is a commonly held myth that Roman soldiers were paid in salt and that this is where the word ‘salary’ comes from. Roman soldiers were paid in coins, but one of their jobs was to guard the salt routes into Rome, so this is probably where the term ‘salary’ comes from.

8. Most of the salt used in the world is not eaten

Most of the slat that is mined or extracted from the sea doesn’t end up on your dinner plate. Only 6% of the US consumption of salt is used in food, the rest is used in industrial processes and over 15% is used to treat the streets every year to guard against ice.

9. Most of your salt comes from processed food

Although the easiest way to reduce your salt intake is in the salt you add to your food at home, the largest proportion of salt intake, for the average American adult, comes from processed food and restaurant food.

10. You do need some salt in your diet

Salt is essential to your body, it regulates your water intake and it is important for the functioning of your brain and your nervous system. A lack of salt can be fatal and, if you drink too much water you can actually flush the salt out of your system and cause a life threatening condition called Hyponatremia.

Do you know some other interesting facts about salt?

Stay happy and healthy!

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