By Susan Dearing
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We have salty tears and salty perspiration. The chemical and mineral composition of our blood and body fluids are strikingly similar to sea water. Unborn babies are encased in a sack of saline fluid resembling sea water.
Sea water contains 84 different mineral elements, and these same minerals are found in our body. According to modern medical research, 24 of these elements are essential for life (you will die without them), and many researchers believe that we need all 84, in proper balance, of course. Loss of these elements creates a dietary deficiency, which can lead to serious disorders of the nervous system, brain damage, muscle damage or other serious illnesses.
Some researchers believe that these minerals are essential to help prevent cancer, exhaustion, memory loss, rapid aging, obesity, water retention, ulcers, poor teeth and bones, decreased sex drive, and other serious conditions.
The way refined table salt is made extracts 82 out of the 84 mineral elements. Why, if these elements are so good for you, do the salt refineries do this? Normally, only 7% of the refined salt ends up on your table. The majority of the salt is sold for industrial use, and has great commercial value. You don't have to earn an MBA online or a health care MBA to know the commercial or health values of salt.
It is used in the silver mining process. Boron is extracted to make anti-knock gasoline additives and chemical fertilizers. Magnesium is sold to makers of metal alloys and for explosives. Other chemicals are removed from salt to make plastics. Then, after taking all of the natural, but saleable, mineral elements out of the salt, chemicals are added to bleach it whiter, prevent water absorption while the salt is in the box, and to make it shake out easier.
The problem with this process is that the chemicals added to salt to prevent water absorption also prevent it from being properly absorbed in your body.
That's why we're hearing that salt's bad for you! Refined salt IS bad for you! It can be deposited in the joints of your bones, and cause arthritis. Some of it can be deposited in the walls of your arteries and veins, lymph system ducts, sexual organs, urinary tract, or glandular system.
Natural sea salt can be consumed in any amount, and the excess passes normally out of your body. Friends of mine will tell you that I eat lots of salt. And, in fact, I put it on almost everything! Apparently my body sends out a message that I need those 82 elements. Sometimes, I'll just take a pinch of sea salt from a dish on the table and eat it plain. When I went on a trip to the Baja peninsula, I brought back a chunk of sea salt.
Since sea salt is available in Colima, I'm never without it. It's only five pesos a kilo, and by using a salt grinder, I process my own sea salt, but keep all the essential vitamin and mineral elements.
If you're eating refined salt, instead of sea salt, your body will be missing out on a lot of essentials, so the next time you visit Manzanillo, make sure you check out the salt mines on the old road to Armeria.
The town of Cuyutlan, about 30 minutes south of Manzanillo, has a salt museum, the "Museo de Sal," housed in a 100-year-old salt storage barn, made of hand-hewn boards from palm trees. It's open daily from 8-8:30. You'll see a diorama of how salt is mined, whale bones, framed photos from the movie, "Adventures of Robinson Crusoe," filmed in Cuyutlan in 1951, old tools, and even a train schedule from 1883.
To get there, take the street north of the "Jardin," go two blocks, and the museum is on the left. You can try following the signs--if they're still there-- or simply ask for the "Museo de Sal."
All around the museum are more old salt storage sheds, still in use after more than a hundred years. The sea salt produced in Colima is sold all over the world, and is trucked throughout most of Mexico.
You'll find sea salt sold out of almost every house, and on the toll road to the state capital, you'll see dozens of roadside stands selling salt and other products of Colima.
For more information about a side trip to Cuyutlan, or excursions to other interesting areas in Colima, order Susan Dearing's 150-page tourist guidebook. or go to www.manzanilloadventures.com and click on Turtle & Iguana Eco-Experience.