Is salt(y) good for you?


The Quick Salty Quiz time is over! Let’s see the correct answers!

What is the chemical formula for salt?

  • NaCl 

Table salt contains one more element that is very important for us. Which one?

  • Iodine

It is added in the form of?

  • Potassium iodide

Why is the “extra element” so important for humans?

  • Production of thyroid hormones

On the other hand, consuming too much of table salt may be harmful because?

  • Increases the growth of stomach bacteria that can lead to inflammation and gastric ulcers

I’ve also prepared a pie chart for making this post more beautiful and the quiz more worthy!

Pie Salt

• 8% of the participants have got only 1 correct answer (the 1st one).
• Zero people have got 2 correct answers. You think that’s odd? Well, if you got right the 1st and the 2nd ones, you will surely answer the 3rd one correctly as well.
• 17% answered the first 3 questions correctly.
• 33% have got 4 out of 5 (missed the last one only).
• 42% HIGH FIVE!

Let’s walk through these answers for a minute!

The first answer does not require an explanation – it’s only a chemical formula (NaCl).

Sodium chloride forms colorless cubic crystals that are made up of large numbers of NaCl formula units, to give a three-dimensional crystalline lattice in which each sodium ion is surrounded by six chloride ions and each chloride ion is surrounded by six sodium ions. The strong electrostatic attractions between the positive and negative ions, known as ionic bonds, hold the solid sodium chloride together.

Ionic crystalline lattice of sodium chloride (NaCl)

The next three questions are interconnected, and further explanations for the answers are needed.

Contrary to popular belief, the table salt is not just sodium chloride, but also contains iodine, added in the form of potassium iodide solution, and additives that are designed to make it more free-flowing. Most commonly anti-caking agent used for the table salt is potassium hexacyanoferrate(II) (E536). Despite the fact that K4[Fe(CN)6] · 3H2O contains cyanides, the toxicity of this compound is very low because of the tight hold of the CN to the Fe2+.

Back in the day, deficiency of iodine was not a rare case. When there is not enough iodine in the human body, the thyroid gland becomes enlarged due to the overproduction of TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone). Such condition is known as goiter. To prevent goiter, iodine is added to salt commercially ever since 1924, when the Morton Salt Company was told to do so by the government.

When you consume too much of table salt (sodium) in your diet, your body holds extra water. That’s because the kidneys, which filter out waste from the blood, maintain a special ratio of electrolytes, such as sodium to potassium, to water. More salt in the diet means the kidneys keep more water in the system. That can have lots of undesirable effects, such as edema (swelling in places like the hands, arms, feet, ankles, and legs); more fluid in general means more blood coursing through veins and arteries. Over time, that causes them to stiffen, which could lead to high blood pressure.

That way, we know for sure that “heavy sweating” and “increased production of saliva” are not the cases here.

The research has proved that high concentrations of salt in the stomach increase the growth of the Helicobacter pylori, which further leads to inflammation of digestive tract, and in the worst case – ulcers.

If you want to learn more about the research, just click on the American Society for Microbiology.

NaCl - Compound

Lazar Kulasevic

Founder of Spiderest.

View all posts by Lazar Kulasevic →

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