There is a lot of confusion regarding salt. Which salt is best for daily consumption? Does everyone need iodized salt? Which salt is best according to ayurveda? These are the most common questions, which I am going to address in this article.
Do you really need iodized salt?
First, start with the question – Does everyone need iodized salt?
After observing Iodine deficiency in a few cases, the government forced everyone to use iodized salt. The limited use of iodized salt might be okay for people with iodine deficiency. If you don’t have iodine deficiency, it can cause iodine toxicity. Excess iodine can cause the following side effects:
- Thyroid disorders.
- High blood pressure.
- Joint pain.
- Thyroid suppression.
A study has shown urinary excretion of iodine in subjects was low (about 12.8 mg/dl) when they did not use iodized salt. After using iodized salt for 7 days, urinary excretion of iodine was increased to 26.8 mg/dl, using for 14 days it increased to 35.5 mg/dl and using for 21 days increased to 63.2 mg/dl. After 3 weeks, 84.6 percent of people using iodized salt had excess iodine. Then the study concluded that excess consumption of iodized salt increases the risk of thyroid disorders. (Reference)
It is clear from the study that everyone does not need iodized salt. You may consume iodized salt if you are clinically diagnosed with iodine deficiency. Otherwise, it can lead to thyroid disorders. Thyroid disorders increase since 1958 when Iodized salt became obligatory in India.
Best Salt for Daily Use
शीलयेच्छालिगोधूमयवषष्टिकजाङ्गलम्। निषण्णक जीवन्ती बालमूलकवास्तुकम्॥४२॥ पथ्यामल कमृद्वीकापटोलीमुद्ग शर्कराः। घृत दिव्योदक क्षीर क्षौद्र दाडिम सैन्धवम् ।। ४३॥ (Ah. S. Ch. 8)
Ashtanga Hridaya provides a concise list of the eatable food:
- Shali rice.
- Whole Wheat.
- Shashtika Rice.
- Wild meat.
- Young radish.
- Munakka and Raisins (dry grapes).
- Pointed gourd.
- Green gram (Mung).
- Sharkara – Ayurvedic Sugar.
- Cow’s ghee.
- Sendha Namak (Saindhava Lavana).
At the end of the verse, Ayurveda recommends Sendha Namak for regular use. Sendha Namak is also called Saindhava Lavana and rock salt. You can find more information here: Rock Salt (Sendha Namak) Benefits & Uses.
सैन्धवं लवणं स्वादु दीपनं पाचनं लघु।। स्निग्धं रुच्यं हिमं वृष्यं सूक्ष्मं नेत्र्यं त्रिदोषहत्।। (Bhavprakash Nighantu)
According to Bhavprakash Nighantu, Sendha Namak has the following properties.
|लघु||Light to digest|
|स्निग्धं||Oily and Emollient (softening or soothing effect)|
|रुच्यं||Increases interest in food.|
|हिमं||Cooling in nature|
|वृष्यं||Aphrodisiac (beneficial for males)|
|नेत्र्यं||Beneficial for eyes|
|त्रिदोषहत्||Balances three doshas (Tridosha)|
Because it balances Tridosha, so it is best for eating in food on a daily basis. All other types of salts are slightly warming in nature. Sendha Namak is the only salt which has a cooling effect. All other salts are bad for the eyes. Sendha Namak is the only salt that improves and protects the eyesight.
However, chemical constituents of Sendha Namak slightly vary from other salts, but slight variations change its whole characteristics.
As ayurveda recommends Sendha Namak, I also recommend its use in your daily cooking instead of all types of available salts. Ayurveda is a stable science and 5000 years’ experience, you can trust ayurveda.
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