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Sodium Chloride

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Sodium Chloride

Description

Sodium chloride is also called salt or table salt and is classified as an ionic compound and has a chemical formula of NaCl. Sodium chloride is found in the oceans and seas, it is also found in the cells of multicellular organisms.

Salt may also be called edible salt and is basically used as a preservative, a condiment and an ingredient in many foods and recipes all around the world. Sodium chloride is mass produced all around the world by evaporation of salt water from the sea. Rock salt is also mined and may be called halite.

History and Origin

The origin of the use of rock salt dates back during the prehistoric ages when food was preserved using seawater. Fish, meat and game that were caught were then preserved quite well in salt water basically because of its sodium chloride content. The United States was considered the top producer of table salt in the world but it was overthrown by China in 2005. It was estimated in 2010 that the production of salt on a worldwide scale reached 270 million tones.

Ancient Uses

During ancient times, salt was considered to be a rather expensive commodity. It was an indispensable ingredient in food preservation, cooking and in preparation of dishes everywhere around the world.

Modern Uses

In modern times, the use of sodium chloride extends from the boundaries of the modern kitchen. It is also used in many industries all around the world. It is needed in the manufacture of paper, textiles and pulp. It is an important ingredient in the manufacture of many personal care products such as soaps, shampoos, bath products and in making detergents for clothes.

The property of sodium chloride to draw out bacteria through the power of osmotic pressure makes it an important ingredient in food preservation. Meats, pickled vegetables, preserved fruits and many other food stuffs can easily preserve their taste, color and flavor when sodium chloride is added to other methods of preservation such as via deep freezing, freeze drying and air drying.

The use of sodium chloride in the many metabolic processes of the body is indispensable. Although salt is needed by the body, the excess of this compound may cause illnesses like cardiovascular diseases and hypertension. Adequate amounts of sodium chloride may benefit people by ensuring the health of cell membranes. Nutrients in the gastro intestinal system are easily absorbed with an adequate amount of sodium chloride in the body.

Adequate values of sodium chloride in the body may help regulate blood pressure as well as maintain normal blood volume. Various processes of the body are also regulated like the rennin-angiotensin balance.

Side Effects

There are no significant side effects on the daily intake of salt. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine has established an ideal sodium chloride intake per day for men, women and children. In excess, sodium chloride may increase blood pressure and may often lead to cardiac illnesses. The elderly and pregnant women are advised to regulate their salt intake to prevent high blood pressure and other chronic complications. As always it is best to discuss your use and intake of sodium chloride with a qualified doctor.

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