One of history’s most sought after commodities, salt remains a status ingredient in restaurants and at home. Available in over 90 different varieties and a rainbow of colors, exotically sourced salt is trending upward. (I have already accumulated eight different kinds.)
While it is my opinion that you can never have enough—many people would be quick to disagree. Studies show that there is a direct relationship between salt intake and high blood pressure, and the USDA recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams a day.
But not all salts are bad for you—some contain essential minerals and vitamins. Let’s investigate one of the healthier salts: Hawaiian red alaea salt.
What is Hawaiian red alaea salt?
Traditional Hawaiian red alaea salt gets its name and color from the native volcanic clay with which many Hawaiians lined their salt ponds.
Native Hawaiians used salt as a food preservative for fish, beef, and pork. It was also employed for religious purification rituals and healing practices. This coarse salt, termed pa’akai, was originally white in color. It later adopted a rust-colored hue due to the clay that was absorbed during the production process, as salt was harvested in the natural evaporation occurring within the ponds.
To this day descendants in Hanapepe, Kauai, continue to produce salt mixed with alaea clay. Frequently integrated into traditional Hawaiian dishes, such as poke, pipikaula (Hawaiian jerky), and kalua pig, unrefined red alaea salt remains an integral part of Hawaiian culture.
5 Benefits of Hawaiian Red Alaea Salt
It contains natural occurring minerals and electrolytes
Hawaiian red alaea salt is said to compose up to 80 different naturally occurring minerals, including potassium and magnesium, which are typically stripped from processed table salts. These nutrients help regulate blood pressure and keep bones strong.
It has cosmetic benefits
The nutrients of red alaea salt, often found in facial masks and salt scrubs, can be absorbed through the skin to eliminate toxins and promote a smooth, healthy complexion.
It is lower in sodium than processed table salt
One serving of alaea salt has approximately one-fifth less sodium chloride than an equal portion of table salt. This is good news for salt-conscious consumers, as excessive sodium chloride has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and chronic kidney disease.
It is rich in iron oxide
Small amounts of harvested red alaea enrich the sea salt with iron oxide, adding to it a source of digestible dietary iron. This is beneficial given the traditionally lower immune function, decreased energy, and lack of focus associated with low levels of iron oxide.
It has a smooth, rich flavor
Hawaiian red alaea salt has a distinct, robust flavor, which makes it a valued ingredient in cooking. While most salts lose intensity as they cook, Hawaiian sea salts retain their bold qualities throughout the cooking process. The stronger flavor also allows the consumer to use the salt more moderately and get an equally satisfying taste.
Did you know? ALOHA’s Daily Good blends contain at least 45 mg of Hawaiian red alaea salt per packet!