Whether it is mined from deeply buried underground sea beds or mined directly from the sea, the debate over which salt is best (table salt or sea salt) can be controversial. Some of us advocate good table salt as the only “true” salt to use, while others use specialty salts like sea or sea ​​salt to flavor their food.

No matter which side of the salt you are on, one thing is for sure, the salt is all around us. Although salt is found underground, the greatest source of salt is found in our seas and oceans. In fact, there is an almost inexhaustible supply of sea salt providing an average of 26 million tons per cubic kilometer, which if mined would cover the world’s total land mass at a depth of nearly 35 meters.

The debate over which is better, table salt or sea salt , started in part when many food companies and food shows started adding sea salt instead of table salt. Observing consumers have taken notice of that change and have also started adding sea salt for everyday use.

Differences between sea salt and table salt

To get a better idea of ​​which one can be better, let’s take a look at what the differences are between the two salts. Keep in mind that a standard difference between table salt or sea salt is its taste, texture, and processing. Here are the details on how each varies from one another:

Iodized table salt

This is probably the type most of us are familiar with and is commonly found in most homes. It is used primarily in cooking and when recipes call for salt, table salt is usually extracted from underground salt deposits and further processed to remove minerals and usually contains an additive to prevent build-up. Table salt is made up of two minerals: sodium and chloride. But often another essential mineral is added to this mix: iodine.

Iodine is a critical micronutrient in the human diet. Our bodies cannot synthesize it, so we rely on our food sources to obtain it. Naturally present in soil and seawater, the availability of iodine varies in regions of the world.

When the body lacks iodine, the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones that can lead to an enlarged thyroid called a goiter. During pregnancy and early childhood, iodine deficiency can cause irreversible effects.

A concern lately, however, has been the reappearance of a mild iodine deficiency , despite the fact that most people consume too much salt. If this is the case, what is causing this deficiency? One reason is that fortification with iodine in salt is voluntary.

Therefore, the manufacturers of most sea salt, kosher salt, and other types of salt do not always iodize their products. Additionally, shaker salt intake has decreased and much of the salt consumed is a commercially processed food that almost always contains non-iodized salt. A good source of iodine is cow’s milk, however the consumption of this drink has decreased over the years.

Sea salt

Sea salt is produced through evaporation of ocean water or saltwater lake water, usually with little processing. Depending on the water source, this leaves behind certain minerals and elements.

Minerals add flavor and color to sea salt, which also comes in a variety of coarseness levels. Do the minerals in sea salt increase its nutritional value? Not much.

Because the ocean is not a pure sodium chloride solution, the final product retains minerals in small amounts, which is a benefit, but sea salt only supplies very negligible amounts of these nutrients compared to what you would get in a varied and balanced diet.

Sea salt and other specialized salts like Himalayan salt are often considered healthier than table salt. Many food companies have started adding sea salt instead of table salt, but as described above, no iodine is added to these products, which could increase the risk of a mild iodine deficiency.

One good thing about sea salt is that it provides more flavor. Many people find sea salt tastier, probably due to its mineral content, so they use less table salt when seasoning food.

Also sea salt tends to be thicker. This helps larger salt crystals hold more air between them, and when you measure them, less salt will fit in the same spoon. One of the best reasons to perhaps use sea salt over table salt is to help develop the habit of using less salt than you normally would.

What about kosher salt?

Kosher salt is another type of salt that has gained popularity. Made by compacting smaller granular flakes into larger irregular platelet-shaped flakes or grown this way through the evaporation process, it tastes less salty than table salt or sea salt.

It is minimally refined and comes from underground deposits or evaporated seawater. Consumers like to use kosher salt for its subtle flavor, it’s easy to pinch, and it dissolves quickly. It also contains sodium chloride, but not iodine, and is generally produced without additives. It is typically used to rim margarita glasses and is perfect for cooking, brining, and as a topping for popcorn.

Kosher salt originally got its name from the Jewish practice of koshering meats. When applied to slaughtered meat, its larger flakes allow the salt to draw blood easily without the meat being overly salted.

The verdict – table salt vs. sea ​​salt

Basically as far as which one is better or healthier (table salt or sea salt), when it comes to the chemical composition of each of them, they are actually the same. Each is made of sodium and chloride and both come from the seas, one from the underground seabed (table salt) and the other from water containing salt (sea salt).

The best verdict is that whatever type of salt you enjoy, do it in moderation. Dietary guidelines advise limiting sodium intake to between 1,500 and 2,300 milligrams per day, which is equal to 0.75 teaspoons or 3.75 grams of salt or one teaspoon or 6 grams of salt.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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