What About Salt?
LONG before the Creator brought the first human couple, Adam and Eve, together, he performed another marriage. What was that? As the Master Chemist he brought about the union between sodium (Na) and chlorine (Cl), resulting in common table salt. Thereby he changed two deadly poisons into a wholesome substance.
And what a widespread product salt is! All the oceans contain about 3 percent salt, while such seas as the Dead Sea have about 25 percent minerals, largely salt. In the United States, more than 85 million tons of salt are used annually by its food and chemical industries. Our bodies contain some three to four ounces of it. Our tears, blood and perspiration are salty. The kidneys keep our salt balance, for which reason urine is salty. In fact, the body maintains a very delicate balance between the sodium (in salt) and such other elements as potassium, calcium and magnesium.
The Bible’s first reference to salt is to the “Salt Sea,” in the days of Abraham. Lot’s wife “became a pillar of salt.” (Gen. 14:3; 19:26) The law of Moses required certain offerings to be ‘seasoned with salt.’ (Lev. 2:13) And, in the days of Ezra, salt was among the items officially commanded to be supplied along with wheat, wine and oil.—Ezra 6:9; 7:22.
Salt was so valuable in ancient Rome that it was used as money, soldiers being given part of their salary in salt. This part was called the salarium, from which comes the word “salary.” Thus a man “not worth his salt” was not worth his wages.
Because of its antiseptic qualities salt is used as a preservative, as in salted herring, in pickles and in sauerkraut. It can also be used as a mouthwash or gargle and in brushing the teeth. So beneficial is salt that, in an official medical publication, two physicians once stated: “Probably the proper use of water and electrolyte solutions [essentially saline solutions] is responsible for saving more lives of seriously ill patients than is the use of any other group of substances.” Saline solutions serve as plasma volume expanders to compensate for the loss of blood. Experience has shown that, in cases of severe burns, drinking a solution of one teaspoon of salt and one-half teaspoon of soda in a quart of water is just as effective as giving blood transfusions, with the added advantage that there are none of the risks associated with blood transfusions.
Some persons today question the need of salt, but the fact that the body loses salt by perspiration can indicate that we need some salt. Besides, Jesus said, “Salt, to be sure, is fine.” (Luke 14:34) That it is essential for physical well-being seems to be borne out by the salt licks to which grazing animals resort.
But there definitely is a danger of taking in too much salt. Especially should those who eat much meat be very sparing in their use of salt. According to one medical authority, the average person takes in about a half ounce of salt daily, but could get along well on just one fifth of that amount. If the excess salt is not eliminated, the result is dropsy. There has also been shown to be a direct relationship between salt and high blood pressure.
So avoid making the use of salt a habit. At least, taste your food before adding salt. The salt habit not only may tax your kidneys and cause high blood pressure but also will likely cause you to eat too much. When you have parties, it might be a kindness not to serve only salty foods with the drinks. Consider also serving unsalted nuts and such toothsome raw vegetables as carrot sticks and celery stalks. In this way your guests will be avoiding too much salt as well as getting a more balanced repast. And when you do use salt on your food, you may find it beneficial to use a vegetable salt, which can help to cut down on your intake of actual sodium chloride.
There is still another reason for being sparing in your use of salt. The salt habit denies you the pleasure of the many subtle individual flavors that various foods have, especially vegetables. Of course, largely tasteless things, such as the white of an egg, may require a little salt, even as ancient Job noted: “Will tasteless things be eaten without salt?” (Job 6:6) But, remember, when you use salt, use it sparingly.