What Everyone Who Cooks Needs to Know About Salt

 

Yesterday, I sent my husband to the store to buy salt.  As he walked out, I said, “Be sure to buy Celtic Sea Salt!”  He came home empty handed.  “Where’s the salt?” I asked.  He said I must be crazy. That salt was so expensive…it costs more than the gas we put in our car! So he didn’t buy it.

Maybe I am a bit crazy but I went back out and bought some.  Yes, it is more expensive than the regular table salt but in my holistic circles, Celtic Sea Salt, Himalayan salt, or Hawaiian salt (which I’ve used with charcoal or clay or green tea in them)
are the only salts to buy.

The question:  is there truly a difference between sea salt and table salt? Is it worth the price tag?

First, one needs to understand how important salt is to our existence.  The Salt Institute states:  “Salt is an essential nutrient. This is a technical descriptor, not marketing hype. An essential nutrient is one required for life that the body cannot produce itself and which is required for good health. For humans, salt is as essential as water. We can perish from too little salt as we can of thirst. The human body contains about eight ounces of salt. The amount of salt is regulated in our bodies by our kidneys and by perspiration.”

It’s a good thing we like the taste, isn’t it?

Most table salt today is “refined” or “purified,” a process that usually involves recrystallization. In recrystallization, a brine solution is treated with chemicals that precipitates out most “impurities,” that is magnesium and trace minerals. Multiple stages of evaporation are then used to collect pure sodium chloride crystals, which are kiln-dried.

During the drying process, an anti-caking compound is added to the brine—this ensures that the salt will “pour when it rains.” Some of the anti-caking chemicals used can cause health problems. (The Salt of the Earth, Sally Fallon, www.westonprice.org)

Since the 1920’s, many manufacturers have also been adding iodine to salt.  Iodine is an important mineral that supports thyroid health.  One can also get iodine from one’s diet if one eats seaweed and seafood.  However, many of us are land based and need to supplement.  Salt has been an easy way to do so.

Sea salt, on the other hand, is made by evaporating sea water.  Salt and trace minerals are left behind.  Sea salt often does not contain the iodine that refined salt has had added to it.

Consider:

  • Both products contain close to the same amount of sodium chloride.
  • Both products are essentially sea salt.  One is mined from the ground where waters have receded and one has been mined from the sea.
  • Some experts state that sea salt may be contaminated with all the pollutants that are in the sea (Himalayan salt is mined from a lake so it does not have that issue)
  • Sea salt has trace minerals; table salt has none
  • Table salt has iodine added; sea salt has none or very little

At the end of the day, the choice is yours. Personally, I will continue to use Celtic Sea Salt or pink Himalayan Sea Salt (it is much cheaper) because:

  • I prefer unprocessed foods.
  • I prefer foods that have no additives.
  • I like the flavor of sea salt on my food much more than regular salt.  And yes, I can tell a difference.
  • I like that there are trace minerals, even if some experts say they are negligible.
  • I will simply supplement with iodine and be sure that I eat seaweed regularly to support my thyroid.

References:

Sea Salt vs Table Salt: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/PreventionTreatmentofHighBloodPressure/Sea-Salt-Vs-Table-Salt_UCM_430992_Article.jspan

Is Sea Salt Better for You Than Table Salt? http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sea-salt/AN01142

The 13 Amazing  Health Benefits of Himalayan Crystal Salt the Purest Salt on Earth http://products.mercola.com/himalayan-salt/

Salt Facts: http://www.saltinstitute.org/About-salt

The Salt of the Earth Written by Sally Fallon Morell    July 4 2011 Why Salt is Essential to Health and Happiness

http://www.westonaprice.org/vitamins-and-minerals/the-salt-of-the-earth

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