Salty about sodium?

salt1We hear it all; sodium is bad for your blood pressure. Sea salt is good for you, eat only pink Himalayan salt. No, kosher salt is best. Actually, celtic sea salt is better. How about old-fashioned table salt can I eat that? etc. Who knows what to think now. Let’s cut through the hype and get to the real information about salt and sodium. How it affects you, and which is best for you personally.

Where does it come from?

The bottom line is all salt comes from seawater mineral deposits. Table salt comes from salt mines left from older bodies of sea water deposits.  Sea salt comes from evaporated1024px-Salt_Farmers_-_Pak_Thale-edit1 seawater or can be manufactured as long as it meets the FDA chemical requirements for chemical composition. Himalayan (pink) salt comes from Pakistan about 200 miles from the foothills of the Himalayas.

Celtic sea salt comes from (you guessed it) the coasts of France (ok, maybe you didn’t, but that was misleading). Celtic sea salt is known better as ‘Sel Gris’ for it grayish coloring. Lastly, kosher salt, well here’s an interesting little tidbit, it’s any salt that’s produced under kosher supervision. So, essentially any salt can be kosher, but all history aside, kosher salt is better known as salt with larger grains that absorb slowly when cooking. Essentially all salt is sea salt, the difference comes in how is it harvested and processed.

How’s it processed?

Standard table salt, since the 1920’s has added iodine added to it for goiter prevention. This was a common problem when people didn’t have access to the large quantity of green leafy vegetables we do today. It also has approximately 2% (on average) of anti-caking agents added. It is also processed and bleached to maintain constant coloring.

Sea salt, as advertised in your local grocer, is either grains that have been evaporated from seawater and unrefined, or has been chemically manufactured by the processor to meet FDA chemical requirements. The only difference between standard sea salt and celtic sea salt is that celtic sea salt is allowed to come into contact with the bottom of the salt pan before being harvested which is why it has a grey color.

Himalayan salt is processed extraction from the salt mines and grinding with rocks. The pink color comes from trace minerals in the deposits. And kosher salt just undergoes a different refining process than regular table salt and can, but doesn’t always, contain iodine.

Is there a difference in sodium content?

Table salt does have the most sodium chloride in it at about 97%. But the others are all not far behind and very similar to only slightly lower. There are differing opinions and articles about this, but the research is clear, there really isn’t much difference in the sodium content from one salt to another.

Which is best for me?

Here’s the bottom line, all salt is primarily sodium chloride and the trace mineral that come from the different types are such a small quantity that you would have to eat at least 100 times the amount of one 1/8 teaspoon serving to get any sort of benefit.

Some people notice a taste difference in the different types of salt and this would be how to choose which is best. Also, different types of salt based on the grain structure and size work best for different applications. Such as kosher salt for meats, Himalayan salt for salads, and celtic salt or sea salt for main dishes and casseroles. Really the best salt is one that you prefer the most and has the least amount of processing.

Season wisely!

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