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Fun facts about salt you probably didn’t know

When you think about salt, the first thing that comes to your mind is food. This is because for as long as one can remember, salt has been used for ages to prepare and preserve food. In some traditional West African societies, salt is usually used for prayers and traditional rites.

Basically using “salt” is an integral part of the culture and tradition of some societies. In fact, one of the basic home remedies for tooth problems is to use salt and warm water solution to wash your mouth. That means that salt is a very interesting ingredient.

Salt is an essential ingredient in our daily lives, but did you know that it has some fascinating facts and historical significance?

Here are 8 fun facts about salt

1. Salt was once used as currency. It was considered so valuable in ancient Rome that soldiers were sometimes paid with it. Basically, salt was considered a form of currency even in countries like Ethiopia.

In Roman times, and probably throughout the Middle Ages, salt was a valuable commodity, also referred to as “white gold.” This high demand for salt was due to its important use in preserving food, especially meat and fish. This is where the common saying of “being worth one’s salt” comes from. Infact, the word salary is derived from the Latin word “sal ” which means salt.

2. Salt has been used for thousands of years, and has a rich history dating back to ancient times. Early Egyptians mined salt from dried lakes and riverbeds and harvested and evaporated it from seawater.

These were some of the earliest salt traders in recorded history and they benefited greatly from it. Salt was highly valued by other civilizations such as the Greeks, and Romans for its ability to preserve food and add flavour.

3. According to a 2012 study on sodium levels in fast food, it was discovered that pizza is the biggest culprit of salt consumption. However, it is important to note that salt is great for the body in the right amounts. Salt helps with the transfer of oxygen and nutrients. It also allows nerves to transmit messages and improve the secretion of gastric acid.

Fun facts about salt

4. There are different types of salt. Although table salt is the most common variety, there are many other types of salt available. These include sea salt, kosher salt, Himalayan pink salt, and black lava salt – each with its own unique flavour profile and culinary uses.

Beyond its role in enhancing flavours in food, salt has numerous other uses. It can be used as an exfoliating scrub for the skin, a natural remedy for sore throats when mixed with warm water, or even as a cleaning agent for removing stains or odours.

5. Salt plays a role in traditional rituals. In various cultures around the world, salt holds symbolic significance and is incorporated into traditional rituals or ceremonies. For example, in some cultures it is customary to throw spilled salt over one’s shoulder to ward off bad luck.

Furthermore, a special kind of salt called natron, which is harvested from certain dry riverbeds, had particular religious significance to ancient Egyptians as it was used in mummification rituals to preserve the body and prepare it for the afterlife.

Salt fields

6.The Dead Sea is ten times saltier than seawater but it’s still only the 5th saltiest body of water. It was one of the world’s first health resorts, and it has been the supplier of a wide variety of products, from asphalt for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilisers.

The saltiest body of water is the Don Juan Pond, a 10cm puddle in Antarctica. At 44% salinity, the pond, despite being situated in one of the coldest places on Earth, does not freeze due to the salination levels.

7. Salt can melt ice. Road salt, or sodium chloride, works by lowering the freezing point of water, causing ice to melt even when the temperature is below water’s normal freezing point of 32 degrees.

The properties of sodium chloride make it an effective de-icer for roads during winter months. By lowering the freezing point of water, spreading salt on icy surfaces helps to melt the ice and improve traction.

Fun facts about salt: harvesting salt from salt fields

8. Too much or too little salt can have health impacts. While our bodies need small amounts of sodium from salt to function properly, excessive salt intake can contribute to health issues such as high blood pressure and hypertension. However, insufficient salt intake can lead to electrolyte imbalances.

These interesting and fun facts about salt demonstrate its historical significance, versatility, and impact on various aspects of our lives. Whether it’s adding flavour to our favourite dishes or playing a role in cultural traditions, salt continues to be an essential part of our world.

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