Thursday, November 18, 2010

Is sea salt healthier than regular table salt? - from Jason in Council Bluffs, IA

Salt... the most ancient of food flavorings and food preservatives. Our body needs it to survive (see my post about drinking too much water), but not nearly as much as most of us consume. A new craze is using sea salt instead of normal table salt. Sea salt comes in a variety of colors, sizes, and textures.  Sea salt is made by evaporating sea water, while table salt comes from salt deposits mined in the ground.  Both are made up of the same thing - sodium chloride.  Sea salt may contain trace amounts of minerals (that were present in the sea water), and this can vary depending on the type and source of the sea water.  However, it is very, very small amounts of minerals, and not enough to actually affect your health or provide meaningful amounts of essential minerals.  The main difference between sea salt and table salt is the taste - sea salt can add a different flavor to food. Also, table salt contains added iodine, an essential molecule for regulating your thyroid. In general, we consume waaaayyy to much salt for our own good. (Salt can raise your blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke)  If you're cooking something fancy and want some fancy sea salt, go for it.  But don't think of sea salt as a health food.  Go easy on both kinds of salt.       

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