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What’s the difference between sea salt and table salt?

What’s the difference between sea salt and table salt?

Answers from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

The most notable differences between sea salt and table salt are in their taste, texture and processing.
Sea salt is produced through evaporation of ocean water or water from saltwater lakes, usually with little processing. Depending on the water source, this leaves behind certain trace minerals and elements. The minerals add flavor and color to sea salt, which also comes in a variety of coarseness levels.
Table salt is typically mined from underground salt deposits. Table salt is more heavily processed to eliminate minerals and usually contains an additive to prevent clumping. Most table salt also has added iodine, an essential nutrient that helps maintain a healthy thyroid.
Sea salt and table salt have the same basic nutritional value, despite the fact that sea salt is often promoted as being healthier. Sea salt and table salt contain comparable amounts of sodium by weight.
Whichever type of salt you enjoy, do so in moderation. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams a day — or 1,500 milligrams if you’re age 51 or older, or if you are black, or if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.

 

Is sea salt “healthier” than table salt?

Our bodies require salt. Today’s problem is that our diet usually includes far more than our daily requirement: 1,500 milligrams of sodium each day or less than 1 teaspoon, whether it is table or sea salt. Sea salt, contrary to some claims, does not contain less sodium than table salt.  According to the Mayo Clinic, “By weight, sea salt and table salt contain about the same amount of sodium chloride.”

As noted above, table salt is processed to remove trace elements while sea salts, in general, leave these in.  These minerals are indeed important in our diets, but in sea salt they exist in what the Mayo Clinic describes as “insignificant amounts.” Chances are you are getting the same minerals in greater quantities in the fruits and vegetables that you eat.

In other words, both sea salt and table salt are equally “healthy” when used in appropriate amounts.

So…is there a good reason to buy sea salt?

Yes, if you’re seeking the flavours, colours, and textures provided by the different sources and processing techniques of sea salt manufacturers.

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