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Hindi Name: Namak

Salt is unrefined sodium chloride and an essential ingredient while cooking food worldwide. The most ubiquitous component of any recipe is salt. Let it be any cuisine, salt is an essential condiment. It is used relatively constant amounts in our regular diet. For daily consumption,refined salt is preferred because, raw sea and rock salts do not contain enough iodine salts to prevent iodine deficiency diseases. Salting is considered one of the important methods for food preservation.
Salt is consumed by humans in three forms - refined salt, unrefined salt and iodized salt.
Unrefined salt or sea salt contains many minerals depending on its source. Unrefined sea salt has minute deposits of magnesium and calcium. This salt has a dull grey tint. Refined salt is mainly composed of sodium chloride. Refined salt is commonly used while cooking. Table salt is also referred to as refined salt, containing 97 to 99 percent of sodium chloride. Iodized salt contains proportions of iodine. The ingestion of iodine prevents thyroid gland problems. Iodine is a dietary nutrient that is essential for the proper functioning of the body.

Other varieties that are widely used -
Kosher Salt: Made by compacting grainy salt, the salt is in irregular shaped flakes that allow the salt to draw blood when applied to butchered meat.
Hawaiian Sea Salts: These are in red colour that has an iron taste. This variety of salt is used to add colour.
Black Salt: It has a strong sulphuric flavour and is blackish in colour.
Pickling Salt: It is free of additives that make the pickles turn black and the pickling liquid cloudy.
Rock Salt: This type of salt is essentially used to make ice-creams.

Nutritional Value
1. Salt contains sodium and chloride, two essential nutrients that are needed by all living creatures.
2. Salt is responsible for regulating the water content in the body
3. The chloride content regulates the acid-base balance in the body.
4. Iodized salt is consumed by 70% of the world population fighting against mental retardation.
5. However, over consumption of salt may lead to several complications like high blood pressure, heart stroke and stomach cancer.

Did you know?
During the middle ages, salt has become so expensive that it was called ‘white gold.’
Until the 20th century, pounds of salt bars were the basic currency in Ethiopia.
Drinking too much water, with insufficient salt intake, puts a person at risk of water intoxication

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