Sea Salt vs Table Salt
Before discussing “is sea salt healthy”, let’s compare sea salt with table salt.
Unlike table salt that is mined from underground salt deposits, sea salt comes from evaporated seawater. There is little difference in the nutritional value (chemical makeup) between the two salts. However, there are differences in their processing, texture, and taste.
Table salt is heavily processed (to get rid of trace minerals), contains an additive (an anti-caking agent like calcium silicate) to prevent clumping, and some have added iodine. Sea salt receives little or no processing. Although trace minerals remain in sea salt, the quantity is so low that they do not make a difference to one’s health.
Table salt possesses fine granules, which dissolve quickly (a preferred salt for bakers). Because of the trace minerals, sea salt grains are large and coarse. One tablespoon of table salt has more salt than a tablespoon of sea salt.
The trace minerals also add flavor to sea salt. However, the flavor is lost when dissolved or cooked. When sprinkled on food, the flavor is more intense than table salt so normally a lesser amount is used.
Benefits of Sea Salt
Sea salt is roughly 40% sodium and 60% chloride.
Sodium is an essential mineral that the body does not make. It is an important electrolyte present in the extra cellular fluid. It regulates body fluid, plays a role in muscle contraction and enzyme operation, and transmits electrical impulses. Although the body needs sodium, too much can be harmful. The kidneys normally eliminate excess sodium but when the amount is too high, they are unable to eliminate all of it. This can cause problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
Chlorine is one of the body’s major negative ions. It plays a part in stomach acidity as hydrochloric acid and is essential to the acid-base balance.
Is Sea Salt Healthy?
To stay healthy, the body needs only a couple hundred milligrams of sodium a day. To be able to excrete excess amounts of sodium sufficiently, one should not consume more than 2400 milligrams a day. Some people, such as those with high blood pressure or kidney disease, should consume lesser amounts.
Natural sea salt is a healthy choice (when used as recommended) but if you use only sea salt, you will want to be aware that iodine levels are low in comparison to salts with added iodine. Iodine is part of the hormone thyroxin, which controls energy metabolism. Too little in the diet can cause goiter and cretinism. Seafood and sea vegetables (like kelp) are excellent sources of iodine.
Mayo Clinic: Is sea salt better for your health than table salt? - https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sea-salt/AN01142
Web MD Diet Community: Table Salt vs Sea Salt - https://forums.webmd.com/3/diet-exchange/tip/21
Food Network: Kosher vs. table vs. sea salts - https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes-and-cooking/kosher-vs-table-vs-sea-salts/index.html
Organic Facts: Health Benefits of Sodium - https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/minerals/health-benefits-of-sodium.html
Image courtesy of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Saltmill.jpg