How one of nature’s most common minerals can make you feel great, inside and out.
– KEYS SOULCARE
In recent years, an increased interest in wellness has led to an influx of new trends, tonics, workouts — all with the promise of supporting a healthier mind and body. While you can easily get lost in a sea of hard-to-pronounce smoothie enhancers and immune boosters, enhancing your wellness routine can be as simple as reaching for some salt.
Turns out, this kitchen staple has a lot more to offer than a hint of flavor. From glowing skin to a brain boost, ahead are a few benefits of the humble salt crystal.
You may have poured some Epsom salt into your bath to give your body some TLC, but have you ever wondered why it’s so helpful after a long workout? And, why Epsom, specifically? Well, for starters, Epsom salt (a.k.a. magnesium sulfate) has a different chemical structure than regular table salt, sodium chloride.
“Salt benefits the skin, so you can add Epsom salts to baths to soothe muscles,” says Dr. Nigma Talib, a naturopathic doctor and the author of Younger Skin Starts in the Gut.
According to the Epsom Salt Council (yes, that’s a thing), Epsom salt has been used therapeutically for hundreds of years. In addition to loosening muscles, Epsom salt can also speed up recovery, soothe tired feet, and help you sleep. (It’s basically the miracle worker.)
The Epsom Salt Council recommends adding two to three cups of Epsom salt to bathwater in a standard-sized bathtub (double that for an oversize tub), and soak for at least 15 minutes.
You may have noticed your skin looking dull and feeling dry in the winter. There’s a remedy for that in the salt cellar too: a salt scrub.
“The benefit of a salt scrub is that it not only helps to exfoliate the skin — leading to smoother, softer, and healthier skin — but it also helps reduce the buildup of dead skin cells,” Talib explains.
Smoother skin and walking around with fewer dead cells hanging out? Sign us up.
“I love using a salt scrub three times a week,” Talib says. “It really helps exfoliate and polish my skin and get rid of the dead skin cells, leaving my skin soft and feeling squeaky clean and glowing.”
Scrubs, by the way, don’t end at your skin; you can also use a salt scrub in your hair. Talib says hair scrubs are great for people who have dry itchy scalp and improve circulation to the scalp. Cover us with salt and call it a day.
Just Add Salt
You might not think much of humble table salt, but as Talib says, “Salt is essential for life. [It] has so many health benefits, but not all salt is created equally — there is a difference between the standard refined table and cooking salt and natural salt.”
Next time you’re at the market, seek out Himalayan salt, suggests Talib. “A commercial salt should be avoided, as it has been processed and heated, which causes a change in the sodium chloride molecule — and other chemicals have been added, including the addition of sugar and anti-caking agents,” she says. On the other hand, “Himalayan salt has a mixture of sodium chloride and 84 other different trace minerals and elements,” says Talib. “So, if you’re choosing a salt, these are the best.”
What’s more, Talib tells us that salt is actually good for our brains. “Salt helps regulate and maintain blood pressure, and it’s vital for our nervous system,” she says. It might even help you write that Great American Novel or create your symphony. “The chloride in the salt molecule is essential for brain function, and sodium activates an enzyme necessary for the formation of glial cells in the brain that help us with creative thinking,” Talib says. “That’s why you feel so bright and clear when you include the right salt in your meals, and perhaps why you tend to crave salt.”
So, next time you’re craving a bag of potato chips, maybe try a little Himalayan salt sprinkled atop some soup or a salad, and see if that satiates your yen — and fires up your brain.