Once I tasted unrefined salt, I never bought refined salt again! Refined salt--that's the table salt sold in the supermarket--now tastes thin to me and causes raging thirst.
While refined salt causes water retention and dehydration, what's surprising is that unrefined salt rehydrates and restores fluid balance.
Salt is necessary to human health, and the kind of salt that people used for almost all of human history was unrefined. Only recently did salt begin to be manufactured in an industrial process. This is the refined salt available in the supermarket and used by food manufacturers for fast food and processed food.
In the manufacture of refined salt, chemicals and high temperatures alter the nature of the salt; remove its calcium, magnesium, iodine, and trace minerals; and bleach it white. Chemicals are added, including anticaking agents, inorganic iodine, and dextrose (refined sugar). The anticaking agents prevent the refined salt from clumping, but also prevent the salt from working properly with the water in the body.
The body's cells retain refined salt because it lacks trace minerals. Electrolyte balance is disturbed. The ultimate result is dehydration, edema, and high blood pressure. Insulin and blood sugar levels are also disrupted. Read about: Salt and high blood pressure
In contrast, unrefined, unprocessed salt contributes many dozens of trace minerals to the body that are not necessarily available from other sources. With the trace minerals, the salt is able to transport nutrients into the body's cells (and toxins out of the cells) while maintaining the body's fluid balance.
Fortunately, unrefined sea salt is available in natural food stores and online. But beware! Some brands have misleading labels. Anything labeled simply "sea salt," even in natural food stores, is almost certainly refined. The following brands, however, are unrefined:
Celtic Sea Salt, described as "whole salt," is sun-dried from sea water with traditional methods. The natural organic matter of the sea contributes additional organic iodine.
I particularly value this salt for its ability to bring out the flavor of meat. It is relatively expensive.
Redmond Real Salt, "gourmet all natural sea salt," is mined in Utah from prehistoric sea beds. It is "not bleached, kiln dried, heated, or altered with chemicals and pollutants."
This is my everyday salt, and I find it perfect for popcorn, rice, and vegetables. It is relatively less expensive and is available more finely ground.
A Pillar of Salt, by Jon Barron, is a straightforward, knowledgeable article that describes what salt accomplishes in the body (so much more than what I've mentioned here) and compares refined and unrefined salt.
In Unrefined Salt vs. Industrial Grade Sodium Chloride, V. Bradshaw-Black, in The Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, calls the use of refined salt "the foundation of nutritional deficiency" because the body's cells become too dehydrated to absorb nutrition and expel toxins. In contrast, unrefined salt, the author says, is absolutely necessary to cellular nutrition and cellular detoxification.