A crystallized, odorless and flaky substance with a pungent taste and soluble in water. Salt is made up of sodium (40%) and chlorine (60%), hence its scientific name, sodium chloride.
Salt, like water, is essential to the functioning of the human body; it is precious as a condiment and as a food preservative.
There are two types of salt.
Rock salt comes from mines exploited for their natural salt deposits, which are the result of the sea retreating over the course of geological epochs. Refined salt or â€œtable saltâ€ comes from rock salt.
Sea salt or â€œmarine saltâ€ is derived from salt marshes, basins in which seawater is trapped and whose salt content becomes concentrated through the combined evaporating action of the sun and wind. It can also be derived from inland seas or salt lakes (Red Sea, Dead Sea, Great Salt Lake), which contain higher concentrations of salt. Sea salt is white, pink or grayish in color, as it contains various minerals in very small quantities. Some people consider it to have a purer and stronger taste than rock salt.
Salt inhibits the action of bacteria and molds, which makes it an excellent preservative (charcuterie products, pickles, cheeses, fish, etc.). It stabilizes the color, flavor and texture of foods (vegetables, in particular). It controls the development of yeasts (breads, cakes, cookies, etc.). It hides the bitterness of foods and enhances their flavor. It stimulates the appetite.
To reduce salt consumption, monitor intake of processed foods, restaurant food and certain medications that are high in salt (laxatives, analgesics, antacids). Also:
â€¢ Avoid commercially made soups and stocks; smoked, salted and canned meats; smoked, salted and canned fish (anchovies, sardines); pickles, sauerkrauts and seaweeds; commercially made sauces (soy sauce, chili sauce, ketchup, prepared mustard); potato chips, crackers, pretzels, etc.; celery salts, garlic salts, onions salts, monosodium glutamate.
â€¢ Avoid adding excess salt when cooking food.
â€¢ Avoid adding salt at the table.
â€¢ Rinse canned vegetables before using.
â€¢ Read the labels of commercially produced foods, which can contain several salt substitutes, such as sodium bicarbonate, monosodium glutamate, sodium alginate or sodium benzoate.
It is generally easier to gradually reduce salt consumption to allow the taste buds to get used to the reduced amount