The Healthful Benefits of Sea Salt

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Salt can be a controversial subject for those who are taking care of our health. It gets a bad rap most of the time. Doctors tell us to avoid it, and some of us listen. However, what those doctors usually don’t mention is that there is a big difference between regular old table salt and sea salt.

But before looking more closely at salt, it’s important to understand why salt is a necessary part of our diet.
• Salt provides sodium, which is necessary for life.
• It helps with muscle contraction and expansion, nerve stimulation, the proper functioning of the adrenals, and other biological processes, as well.
• Salt also provides chloride, which helps produce acids necessary to digest protein and enzymes for carbohydrate digestion, and is necessary for proper brain functioning and growth.
• Salt contains magnesium, which is important for producing enzymes, nerve transmission, bone formation, forming tooth enamel, and resistance to heart disease, and it also contains many other trace minerals. Babies and children are in special need of salt for their developing brains.

Excessive salt can certainly cause health problems, but it’s important to realize that we need salt in our diets. Some people need more than others and some need less, but we all need it.

Regular table salt and sea salt – what’s the difference?


For starters, table salt is highly refined.
• It goes through a process that removes the magnesium and trace minerals.
• In order to keep the salt dried out, various additives are included, such as aluminum compounds.
• The natural iodine is also destroyed during the refining process, so it is usually added back in the form of potassium iodide.
• Dextrose is added as a stabilizer, which affects the color, and so a bleaching agent is used to finish it off.

In contrast, a good quality sea salt is sun dried. It will still contain microscopic amounts of sea life, which provides natural iodine. It will be gray in color and even slightly moist. This means there is a large mineral content. I really like Celtic sea salt. Red sea salt from the shores of Hawaii is another great option.

Sea salt has a much stronger flavor than table salt, so you don’t need to use as much. The kind I use is pretty coarse, so I put it in a salt grinder. This is not the same as a pepper grinder – a pepper grinder has steel blades for hard peppercorns, while a salt grinder has ceramic blades that resist salt’s naturally corrosive properties. I dry the salt out very gently in my toaster oven on low before putting it in the salt grinder, so that it will pass easily through the blades.

If you are going to purchase canned or processed foods, look for those without added salt. Unless the item is organic, it usually won’t contain sea salt, but rather the highly refined form of salt – and often in very large quantities. You can always salt the food yourself with sea salt; it will taste better and be better for you.

Have you discovered the beauty of sea salt? Do you have other things to add about the importance of salt? Have you experienced any health benefits after switching to sea salt?

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About Katie

Katie loves to learn about natural living, and believes that caring for the earth and caring for yourself don't have to be mutually exclusive. She loves to help other people understand how they can both contribute to and benefit from a switch to a more natural and organic lifestyle. She is a stay-at-home mom and a native Texas girl, happily married to her best friend.

Comments

  1. I just started reading “Water & Salt” by Barbara Hendel & Peter Ferreira and they mention a solution called sole (pronounced so-lay) that’s 26% pink Himalayan salt and water. It’s mentioned therein that it will balance the human body’s pH to slightly alkaline.

    Since I first learned of the dangers of white salt (sodium chloride) I’ve been avoiding it whenever possible. I got sick after just a few days of staying off of it, but then I started getting better and it doesn’t hurt that I cut out most of my white sugars, white flours, and white oils at the same time.

    Great article.
    .-= Bonsai Guy’s last undefined: If you register your site for free at =-.

  2. I’m a huge fan of sea salt in cooking (although I use kosher salt as well), and I’ve found you get so much more flavor in a smaller amount. But I’m wondering… what about iodine? When you take iodized salt out of the equation, does the average person get enough iodine? I thought I had read that the average American has almost zero iodine in their diet without iodized salt. I really haven’t done enough research on this, but it’s enough of a concern to me that I haven’t cut out the traditional stuff completely yet. :)
    .-= Laura’s last blog: Abundance =-.

    • mike giller says:

      there are 2 iodines 1 is for the thyroid the daily dosage for a an average sized man is 500mg of kelp the other is for the rest of the body called iosol dosage for an average sized man is 50 drops per day for one month then 7 drops a day as a maintanence dose there is a wep page that explains it it is very important and very beneficial

  3. Great info! I’ve been advised to stay away from salt because of Meniere’s Disease, but honestly, I don’t really listen, because cooking is so boring without salt. Part of it is that I’ve moved to sea salt and haven’t noticed any ill effects.

    I’m curious about the iodine as well.

    • mike giller says:

      there are 2 iodines 1 is for the thyroid daily dosage for an average sized man is 500 mg of kelp the other is called iosol it is for the rest of the body the daily dose for an average sized man is 50 drops for 1 month after that 7 drops as a maintanence dose there is a web page that explains it it is very important and very beneficial

  4. Yes, I wrote a big article on this last month over on simple bites:

    http://www.simplebites.net/finding-the-best-salt/
    .-= Shannon’s last blog: Soaked Oatmeal Porridge =-.

  5. In trying to eat locally, salt has been one of the most elusive local items, for someone in the midwest. But a little research revealed that there are many many areas of the world that have to import salt; it’s one of humanity’s oldest trade items. I solve my “local” problem by buying sea salt from a local, family-owned grocer or spice shop, rather than a chain store.

    I’m just wondering about sea salt in baked goods. I’ve been using table salt still for baked goods; are there any equivalencies or tips for using it?
    .-= Xan’s last blog: In which we welcome the god and the goddess =-.

    • Personally, I just add about half the amount called for… I don’t know if there are any equivalency charts; I’ll have to look into that!

  6. I use a wonderful scrub in the shower that I make with sea salt. I fill an old jar (a Snapple bottle works really well) with a mixture of one part sea salt to one part baking soda. It is a great, detoxifying scrub that leaves you with smooth skin for pennies!

  7. Thanks, Katie! This was one compare/contrast I’d been wondering about.
    .-= Nicole aka Gidget’s last blog: Día de Pascua =-.

  8. So glad to see happy words about healthy salt! Funny story though – I ordered some Celtic sea salt, the good stuff, and there was a WHOLE BUG in it. Actually, it was a bug w/o a head, which is probably worse. That said, I\’m still thinking about using it, but they did send a replacement and I would order from them again. That\’s what we expect with good, organic, REAL food. ;) Katie

  9. I often comment about this or that not being available in France (the new blog rage of sumac, for one) but sea salt is never a problem. There’s always a big selection of various salts and it’s all I’ve used for years…. some with herbs added. As to the salt grinders, I have to get a new one every few years … I’ll try drying the salt.
    .-= Katie’s last blog: Poached Egg with Polenta, Green Garlic and Asparagus; an Award =-.

  10. Pat Zanger says:

    Great article Katie. Not enough attention is given to the health benefits of salt.

    I think many “sea salts” are really misleading. Most sea salt is not actually any better than mined salt. I think a good way to make sure that the sea salt is actually natural is to check for moistness in the sea salt. I love salts like the French Grey Salt or Whole Sea Salt. I actually just read an article with Dr. De Langre who wrote a great book on the power’s of sea salt: http://wholeseasalt.com/learn/normal_sea_salt.html

  11. I love good sea salt. Thanks for the tips on how to choose a good one. It’s good to know what color and flavor it should be. I figured they were all basically the same. It’s so cool how many different types of salts there are out there to choose from. We buy a black salt from Hawaii that’s coated with volcanic activated charcoal on it. It’s really tasty and the activated charcoal is a good detoxifyer.
    Ben´s latest post: Greens Gold Review

  12. Katie,
    Can you email me your address, so I can send you a thank you for recommending our Celtic Sea Salt? I just came across your blog today and not sure if anyone in our department here has seen it.
    Thank you! Great article!!
    Stephanie

  13. There was a great article on mayo clinic about this as well an d the comparison is very interesting

    Sea salt and table salt have the same basic nutritional value — both mostly consist of two minerals — sodium and chloride. However, sea salt is often marketed as a more natural and healthy alternative. The real differences between sea salt and table salt are in their taste, texture and processing, not their chemical makeup.

  14. mike giller says:

    there are 2 iodines 1 is for the thyroid called potassium iodide the dosage is 500 mg kelp a day the other is ammonium iodide for the rest of the body called iosol take 50 drops a day for 1 month then 7 drops a day after that as a maintanence dosage there is a web sight that explains it it is very important and very beneficial vitamin cottage has it whole foods has sundried sea salt $1.69 for 24 ounces

  15. mike giller says:

    the dosage for sun dried sea salt is not per day it is per quantity of water people can take 1 gram per quart of water

  16. Thank you for backing up what I have always known in my mind, but have never really had the facts to backup when people have challenged me about my salt intake. I have always had a rather higher salt intake than most, but I’m also an athlete that sweats quite a bit when I’m playing sports and working out so it is crucial that I replace the electrolytes lost during exercise. Salt has always been a major player in that for me. As you stated it helps with all of the muscles operating properly as well as with magnesium repleneshment which helps with sleep quality for recovery.

  17. My friend recommended a pure salt made in Korea that was processed with 2000 C and took all toxic element out. But I read another article that says sea salt should be “naturally dried”.

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