THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Tales from the old-timer
Issue Date: June 26, 2013
Never Ban Your Salt Shaker
I took a course in Zoology in college 60 years ago and the main thing we did was to dissect frogs and try to memorize the Latinized names of all their bones and muscles. I got nothing out of the frog business, but the old professor told us something about salt that stuck with me.
He claimed that the very cells making up our bodies were mostly a salt solution, with a salt content about the same as the waters in a tropical sea.
He claimed that all our body fluids, blood, perspiration, the lymphatic fluid, even our tears, were salty. He said that without that salt we would die.
The old professor said furthermore that the body has a finely tuned monitoring system to keep our salt content in balance. Any excess would be filtered out by the kidneys.
The latest nutritional dispatches, however, warn us against too much salt as the cause of hypertension, kidney failure, and premature death.
A strict rationing of salt intake, and no supplemental salt on our food is advised with grim warnings. Plenty of salt in the food already, is the word.
Supermarket shelves are stocked with products that proudly declare they are sugar free, fat free, sodium free, and salt free.
At Badger Paper Mills in hot weather, the company used to provide salt tablets to offset salt loss through perspiration. It was thought that heat stroke was related to salt and water deficiency.
The recently deaths of two young Kansas High School football players from heat stroke makes me think the old professor and the Badger Paper Mills people had it right.
The ancient Romans had a road called the Via Salaria, over which the precious stuff was transported to the imperial capital. The Roman soldiers and officers got a regular salt allowance, called a salarium. Thats where our word salary comes from.
In the Gospel of Matthew, we read of the salt of the earth.
I flunked the zoology course, couldnt name the bones and muscles of the frog, but I remembered what the old fellow told us about salt. It sure makes things taste good.
Dont throw out your salt shaker until you have a serious metabolic disease is my advice, but take the advice with a grain of salt.