Sea Salt vs. Table Salt – Healthier or Hoax?
If you perform a basic Google search of the health benefits of sea salt versus those of table salt, you’ll find plenty of articles proclaiming sea salt as the end-all, be-all of the salt world. You’ll also find plenty of other articles telling you that’s not the case. The question: “Which is healthier for you: sea salt or table salt?” doesn’t exactly have a cut-and-dry answer.There are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to weighing the health benefits of both types of salt.
What’s the difference?
The ultimate difference between sea salt and table salt isn’t the amount of sodium contained in each type (they contain the same amount of sodium in crystals). Rather,the difference is in the refining process the salt undergoes before hitting store shelves.
Table Salt Breakdown
Table salt is mined from underground salt deposits. It is highly processed, stripping away any trace minerals found in the salt. Table salt is put through a rigorous refining process to make the actual salt crystals smaller, which makes the salt easier to mix and use in recipes. Through this process, table salt is bleached and stripped of its color, making it appear white. Iodine is added to table salt (and has been since the 1920s to combat the iodine-deficiency disease goiter). Adding iodine, which is essential to a healthy diet, isn’t a bad thing in itself. However, most people consume plenty of iodine naturally. The added iodine in table salt could become a problem if too much iodine is consumed, which causes nausea, headaches and unstable hormone levels. After iodine is added to table salt, anti-caking agents and preservatives are addedto prevent the crystals from clumping or caking together.
Sea Salt Breakdown
In comparison, sea salt crystals are evaporated from ocean water or saltwater lakes.Generally, sea salts are unrefined. However, some manufacturers put their “sea salt” through a heavy refining process to make it appear more like table salt and to bleach it of color. The extra minerals naturally found in sea salt account for its color; depending on which minerals and how much of these are present in the sea salt, the color of sea salt changes. Sea salt may have added health benefits due to the natural minerals found in it. However, most people consume the appropriate amounts of these minerals in their daily diets regardless. The best way to check how much refining your sea salt has gone through is to check the ingredients label. If the only ingredient listed is sodium chloride, you know your sea salt has been through a refining process.
Sea Salt vs. Table Salt – Which To Choose?
Although both table salt and sea salt contain the same amount of sodium (about 40% sodium by weight), you may consume less sodium by adding sea salt to your diet. Since sea salt crystals are larger than table salt crystals, the amount of sodium per volume in sea salt is much less than table salt. A pinch of sea salt contains less crystals than a pinch of table salt, which means less sodium. Sea salt is also more coarse and crunchier than table salt, with a stronger flavor.
The color of sea salt tells the type of minerals it contains. The most highly recommended types of sea salt are off-white or pink in color. Himalayan rock salt, which is rose-colored, is highly recommend, as well as grey Atlantic or Celtic sea salt.These pick up a lot of nutrients from the water where they’re harvested in Brittany, France (near the Celtic Sea), in addition to the clay pans in which the salt crystalizes.
Consume the type of salt you feel matches your body and lifestyle best, now that you’re well-informed on the differences between table salt and sea salt.
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