Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Trendy New Natural Salts: Do You Need More Iodine?

Next to our stovetop we have: Kosher salt, Murray River salt, Himalayan Pink, Alaea Hawaiian salt, and Salish smoked sea salt. Nowhere do you see iodized salt which was the norm for household usage for many years. We enjoy using moderate amounts of different salts in our cooking depending upon the tastes we want to impart to the food. My mother asked the question I hadn’t even thought of: Where do you get the iodine previously provided by regular iodized table salt? I, personally, had not even thought of that.

I learned much from reading the Harvard Medical School’s newsletter on iodine. First, we do not need to absorb iodine through salt. That idea was introduced to this country from Switzerland in 1924. There used to be a problem back then with people not getting enough iodine naturally. The lack of a sufficient amount of iodine in the body lowered metabolism, gave your brain a sluggishness, caused cancer, caused goiter which is an enlarged thyroid gland on the neck, plus other, sometimes serious results.

We are able to absorb the 150 micrograms of iodine needed per day easily in today’s diet. Milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, ocean-caught fish and vitamins can all take care of that amount and more. One thing to keep in mind is that one can find the most non-iodized salt in processed foods - 75%-95% of total salt intake comes from these foods. So that type of salt is not useful for the body and can contribute to heart failure, strokes, etc., if too much is eaten. If you are thinking you are getting enough iodine by eating frozen or fast food, think again. 

A moderate amount of the natural salt you prefer is definitely okay, just don’t go hog wild at McDonald’s on a regular basis or make Marie Callender or Manwich dinners your main source of nourishment.

Enjoy a little sea salt on your tomatoes, sprinkle a little smokey Salish or Alaea on a grilled burger or steak and a multi-vitamin each day certainly wouldn’t hurt.

A gentle reminder for us cheese lovers: Cheese contains salt, some more than others, and it is not iodized, of course. Hold back a little on adding salt to dishes containing a significant amount of cheese. Cheese itself contributes to your body's needed dose of iodine, however.

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