The kosher salt industry is booming, with the number of kosher salts in use in restaurants and bakeries increasing every year.
But what exactly is kosher salt and why do people put it on pizzas?
The word “kosher” comes from the Hebrew word ידברים, meaning to eat clean.
Kosher salt is kosher by law, but it’s not something that can be consumed in a kosher manner.
Kabbalah teaches that it’s the most pure of the four basic ingredients in food, which means it’s best used for eating or drinking, but also for preparing food and medicine.
“The key ingredient is salt,” said Prof David Hirsch, professor of medicine and director of the Kookum Institute for Advanced Study in San Francisco.
“It’s not an ingredient, it’s a chemical, and there’s nothing special about it.
That’s why it’s so important for food, and for medicine, to have that pure quality of salt.”
Prof Hirsch is one of a handful of scientists who have been studying the health benefits of kosher salt.
He said it has been shown to reduce the risk of colitis and cancer, improve cholesterol levels and reduce the symptoms of asthma.
“When we talk about health benefits, there are also other health benefits that come from the food itself,” he said.
“People can get some really good nutrition from the use of salt, so there’s a lot of benefit there, and that’s something that’s worth talking about.”
He said that the food industry had come up with a variety of kosher options to choose from, including kosher salt powder, kosher salt-coated flour, kosher salts, kosher sugar, kosher vinegar, kosher table salt and kosher salt salt-flavored food additives.
Prof Hitz has published a book called The Kookums Guide to Health, Food and Medicine with the aim of teaching people the science behind kosher salt products and how to make your own.
“You can find all sorts of different options for a lot more different things than kosher salt,” he explained.
“A lot of people have really good reasons for putting salt on their food, because it’s actually quite a good source of nutrients.”
Prof Harlow said it was important for people to understand what the benefits were, how they worked, and what the potential health risks were.
“I think the best way to get a good idea of what the health risks of salt are, is to do a food study,” he advised.
“In fact, in the United States there are a number of studies that actually do show that there are really some very real risks associated with using kosher salt in foods.”