A Brief History of Salt

I imagine I would be safe in making the argument that this issue has not taxed your brain too much so far. How and when salt came to be a part of our diet that is. Each day, regardless of what we eat, salt is likely to form a part of it. We may rotate our vegetables and go from being vegetarian to vegan and then back to consuming meat. Our constant companion is still salt. To the extent that your body is designed to keep you in homeostasis or balance when it comes to salt. Short? Your body will make you crave the wonderful white crystals. Talk about being addicted, and you didn’t even know it, did you?

The ability of salt to preserve food was probably a cornerstone of civilization. It was this ability that allowed us to go from hunting and eating to storing food. Countries and regions, historically, came to be on their strength to supply salt. The suffix “wich” as in Norwich denoted a place that could provide salt.

Traditionally, there were two sources of salt – rocks that had salt or the sea from which salt could be panned. We made the most of both setting up entire cities to do so. Austria, for example, was named the “city of salt” for its mines. Liverpool went on to become the port for the world’s salt. A significant part of our trading in the early days revolved around salt. Those who had it sold and those who didn’t bought it. The food we consumed too contained salt. Meat, for example, came with its salt as animals also indulged.

Naturally salt soon came to be a part of our tradition, folklore, and habits. Salt contains sodium, which forms the transport channel for all signals from your brains to be transmistted to the rest of your body. It was not for nothing that Jesus used the term “salt of the earth” to denote a worthy person.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.