Salt: A World History
If you're worth your salt as a teacher, you're often struggling to come up with informed answers to students questions . . . such as "is salt good or bad for you?"
In the typical A&P course, students get the message that sodium and chloride are essential to life. In fact, throughout the course they learn about many of the central roles these ions play in the function of the human body.
It's no wonder that salt has played such a central role in human history. Which reminds me of a great book I listened to (it was the audio version) a couple of years ago. Salt: A World History (by Mark Kurlansky) ought to be on your list of "must read books for A&P professors."
The book was recommended to me by my friend Michael Banks, who is a humanities professor turned administrator . . . it's got to be a great science book if it is interesting to a humanities guy, eh? Well, he was right. It's a gripping story of both the science of sodium chloride and it's incredibly vital role to the development of human civilization. I know, it sounds nerdy to get excited over a book about sodium chloride . . . but if you read it, you'll see why I liked it.
Besides learning about salt, you'll also come away with an appreciation of the interconnectedness of things.
If nothing else, it will give you a lot of anecdotes and factoids that you can use in your A&P class.
One of the questions that I often get in class is, "if salt [or sodium] is so essential to life, why is it bad for you?"
Wow, what a great teaching moment . . . I can help bring the student to a higher level of thinking by dissecting the false choice of "good" and "bad" in this case and revealing the "gray."
But of course, what is the latest story on the role of salt in creating hypertension (HTN) or other problems? Check out this recent article from the LA Times to help sort out the latest thinking on this one:
by Emily Sohn
Los Angeles Times online, 27 October 2008
[Article summarizing the link between HTN and salt]
Here's a FREE video that does a good job of outline some central ideas about salt's health connections:
[Go to the YouTube page how-to page to learn how to embed the video in your PowerPoint or webpage . . . or simply link to it from your own email or webpage.]
Here are some more FREE salt and hypertension resources:
- Free guide to lowering dietary salt intake
- Free hypertension resources for teachers
- Free hypertension slides
- Free resources from The Salt Institute
- Free video of salt crystal formation
Want to check out that Salt book? Click the Amazon link below to see reviews or to download the audio version.