Salt is a crystalline mineral that’s made from sodium and chlorine (NaCl). These two elements are essential for life. We cannot live without them because they contribute to numerous critical biological processes, including:
- Regulating the amount of water that’s in and around your cells
- Carrying nutrients into and out of your cells
- Helping the brain function
- Helping the nerves send out electrical impulses
- Aiding digestion and metabolism
- Supporting adrenal function
- Maintaining and regulating blood pressure
You may be wondering, if the elements that make up salt are so important for our health then why does salt have such a bad reputation? What a lot of people don’t realize is there’s a huge difference between natural salt and the refined stuff we usually eat.
5 Types of Salt and How They Affect Health
There are a large variety of salts on the market ranging in color, texture, taste, and nutritional value. Today, we are going to focus on five of the most commonly used and talked about salts: refined table salt, sea salt, kosher salt, pink Himalayan salt, and Celtic sea salt.
Refined salt, also referred to as table salt or cooking salt, is originally produced from either salt mines or evaporated ocean water. I’d like to take a minute and add a quick note here to make you aware, that when you see the word refined on a label of any food, a red flag should go up. That one little word is telling you that the food has been processed. When a food has been refined (processed) it has been altered from its original state. So, as in the case of the refined salt, what started out as a beneficial mineral, is quickly transformed into an altered state. It’s been chemically cleaned and stripped of natural healing minerals which in the end reduces its initial natural nutrients.
If you’ve ever had sea salt then you know there is a huge texture difference when compared to traditional table salt. Sea salt is often less ground, meaning the salt flakes are larger. This type of salt is made by evaporating seawater and usually contains some amount of trace minerals like potassium, iron, and zinc. While sea salt is definitely a better choice than refined table salt, it’s still not the best. That’s because of the pollutants in our oceans. Our oceans have become a dumping grounds for toxic poisons like mercury and much more. Just like pollution has affected our fish supply, sea salt can also contain trace amounts of heavy metals, like lead and mercury.
Kosher salt was originally used for Jewish religious purposes. It was used to remove blood from the surface of meat, making the meat Kosher. This type of salt has a flaky, coarse structure that easily draws out the blood. While Kosher salt is similar to table salt because they both originate from either underground mine deposits or evaporated seawater, the two salts are not the same. Aside from the larger grains and different texture, Kosher salt is not iodized and usually doesn’t contain anti-caking agents. If manufacturers do add anti-caking agents to Kosher salt, though, it is in much smaller amounts than compared to table salt.
Pink Himalayan Salt
Pink Himalayan salt derives from the mountains of the Himalayas. It’s called the purest salt on earth because it’s said to be uncontaminated with modern day toxins or pollutants. Another benefit of Himalayan salt is it contains lower amounts of sodium than table salt. Plus, it also contains small amounts of minerals such as iron, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. In fact, 16 percent of Himalayan salt are naturally occurring trace minerals. It’s only 84 percent sodium chloride (compare that to table salt, which is 97.5 percent sodium chloride).
Doctors say regular consumption of pink Himalayan salt can help balance electrolytes, balance the body’s pH level, support nutrient absorption, and eliminate toxins. Aside from the health benefits, this type of salt is a bit coarser and offers a strong flavor. A little goes a long way in terms of pleasing your taste buds!
Celtic sea salt originates from Brittany, France near the Celtic Sea. It has a grayish hue and retains its moisture. So no matter how you store this type of salt, it will always be moist to the touch.
Despite the texture difference, many health experts compare Celtic salt to pink Himalayan salt because of it’s nutritional content. Celtic salt also contains a variety of trace minerals and is lower in sodium than regular table salt. In fact, studies show Celtic salt has the least amount of sodium than any of the other salts mentioned on this list. It also has the highest amount of certain key minerals, such as calcium and magnesium.
With similar nutrients, it may not come as a surprise that Celtic salt is slated to offer the same health benefits as Himalayan salt.