World of Salt

Salt is an essential element of our life and our lifestyle too. From our plates for flavour to the winter roads for safety, salt has over 14,000 uses. Salt has been the reason for the rise of several civilizations. It has also caused rebellions and revolutions and started several wars. Without salt, the world as we know it would not exist. Take a peek into the world of salt and explore the many fascinating facts, trivia, rituals and myths about salt.

Salt through History

The history of mankind is intertwined with the history of salt. In fact, there are many instances where we have discovered history because it was preserved with salt. Here's a glimpse at the journey of Salt through History:

Egyptian art from 1450 B.C. records salt making. Salt was the main ingredient required to mummify the royal dead in ancient Egypt.

'He is not worth his salt', a common expression, is believed to have originated in ancient Greece where salt was traded for slaves.

It is believed that Roman soldiers were at times paid 'salt money', salarium argentum, from which we take our English word 'salary'.

Salt Rituals

As such an important part of history, salt has inspired a lot of superstitions and beliefs. Most cultures consider salt to be a good omen and as a force of positive energy. Here are some Salt rituals from India and around the world.

Indians believe salt is auspicious since it mixes well with most things easily. In some cultures it is the first purchase of a new year, believed to bring good luck and prosperity.

In Gujarati culture, salt is supposed to be the first purchase made for a wedding.

Many south Indians believe in putting down a dish of salt at the threshold of the house when moving to a new home or when a new bride enters the house for the first time.

Salt Health Myths

In the past few years there has been a rise of misconceptions about salt and its effects on health. Salt is not bad for health as many articles seem to suggest. A balanced salt intake is essential to live a healthy life. In this section, we bust some salt health myths.

Myth 1:
You should completely eliminate salt from your diet to make it healthier.
Fact:
Salt is essential to maintain electrolyte balance and to regulate blood pressure. It should never be completely eliminated from the diet.

Myth 2:
Sodium and salt are the same thing.
Fact:
Only a part of common salt is sodium. There are different kinds of edible salts that contain varying amounts of sodium. Some types of salt are black salt, rock salt, curing salt etc.

Myth 3:
Salt intake leads to weight gain.
Fact:
Salt in the body causes water retention. In fact, due to this property, regulating blood pressure and water intake are important functions of salt. If a person ingests excessive salt it will cause the body to retain more water and will increase the person's water weight. As long as a person doesn't eat excessive salt, there won't be significant weight gain.

Salt Trivia

With over 14,000 uses, salt has many lesser known uses. Discover the unknown and unusual facts about salt.

Only about 5% of the world's annual salt production is used as seasoning. The rest finds use in chemical plants, where it plays a role in key industry raw materials — sulphur, limestone, coal and petroleum.

Nuclear waste, which can remain toxic for up to 2,40,000 years, is stored in disused salt mines because of salt's ability to seal cracks.

Salt Domes are used to store USA's Strategic Oil Reserve. As many as 700 million oil barrels are stored in 500 salt domes in Texas and Louisiana.

Salt in India

India is the third largest producer of salt. This section explores the magnitude and scale of the salt industry in India.

Salt is produced in India in over 11,931 salt works, most of them in the small sector. The largest producer by far, is Tata Salt.

On the small scale, there are over 174 cooperative societies with total of 26,882 members working in 28,483 acres and produce 17.09 lakh tonnes of salt in India.

The average annual supply of salt in India for human consumption is about 59 lakh tonnes and that for industrial consumption is about 107 lakh tones.

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