It's hard to believe, but kosher salt actually came from ancient Egypt. In fact, its ancient Egyptian name was khans, which literally means "selling salt". And the earliest archaeological finds of table salt were made in tombs that have been excavated around 1500 BC in Egypt. This early table salt was composed of mummified animals and marine shells from the seas surrounding Egypt.
The mummification process preserved the chemical elements in the seawater, including sulfur, which is why ancient Egyptians used it for cooking. The use of sulfur and sodium chloride as additives to food dates back to the earliest known civilizations. For example, the Aztecs of Central Mexico used large amounts of salt deposits to add flavor and color to their food. Aztec food bore designs of animals and people and conformed to their unique climate.
With the advent of faster and better travel, table salt was more readily available to many early inhabitants of the Americas. As the Mayans and the Aztecs spread into the highlands of Mexico, salt was not a luxury item but a necessity. Salt was used to improve the taste of their food, to preserve meats and to remove water from food. They also carried it with them on their journeys to help avoid dehydration and to increase healing.
The Chinese also used kosher salt, although not as much as the Egyptians or Aztecs did. One reason might be because the Chinese were using metal containers that keeping foods fresher longer than anything metal had been done before. Salt containers were found in both the north and the south areas of China, as well as in Vietnam. Another reason might be because salt was thought to increase fertility. The ancients believed that salt-reduced illness and made people more able to bear children.
In modern times table salt has begun to decline in popularity, perhaps due to its association with slinging salt. Most table salt you find today is either refined or bleached. Refined salt has had a very long history in the world of salt. It was first used in America during the middle ages for its purported health benefits, although these claims have been disputed.
Bleaching table salt is not a new idea. For centuries people have bleached fruits and vegetables to get a bright, attractive appearance. This process was originally used to whiten the rice. However, it has now become popular for table salt, and some countries such as Australia are now starting to take advantage of this process.
There are two ways to make table salt bright. The first is by adding ammonia, which reacts with water to produce a very pale, shiny substance. The second method is simply to add iron salts to table salt. Both of these methods produce salt with a purplish appearance. Scientists and enthusiasts have had a field day, experimenting with different combinations. Most experts agree that you need about five milligrams of sodium chloride for each one gram of table salt you use.
It sounds like salt is not really all that important. After all, you use it just to add flavor to your food. However, the mineral content is an essential part of our body chemistry. A diet without it can lead to serious health problems.
The average human body produces about two percent of the total salt present in the planet. That's about two-thirds of what we put in our mouths. Sodium chloride is found naturally in seawater and plants, so getting too much can be a problem. In some cases, the body is able to replenish its stores via other foods, but table salt is high in sodium and gets depleted very quickly. People with hypertension or heart problems should stay away from table salt, especially if they also have medications to control those conditions.
The problem is that there is no standard level of saltiness. Some saltier varieties are better for you than others. As an example, table salt varies considerably between countries, depending on the wealth of their respective economies.
One solution to the salt problem is to buy table salt in smaller portions. Of course, this doesn't work for everyone, because we still crave the saltiness of freshly ground salt. In that case, consider trying to eat less salt in your diet overall. This will help you avoid the problem of too much table salt and have a healthier diet overall. It's a small price to pay for a healthier lifestyle.