You would think based on the health claims and marketing of sea salt it must be a superior product compared to plain old table salt?
I have wondered for a while now what the real difference is between table salt and sea salt, and if in fact there was any real difference at all.
I set out on a mission to find out the facts.
Here’s what I discovered…
Table salt and sea salt are very similar nutritionally.
They both contain almost the exact same levels of sodium chloride. Their differences lie primarily in how they taste and their consistency or texture.
This simply boils down to which one you prefer.
While sea salt does contain small amounts of a few minerals, the amount of salt you would need to ingest to achieve any beneficial amounts, easily obtainable in a healthy diet, would be extremely detrimental to your health.
It seems clever marketing once again has exaggerated the claims of a particular food.
Another less important difference is where these salts originate.
Sea salt is a result of evaporated seawater and table salt stems from taking salt from underground salt mines.
Salt and Iodine
An important component of salt is its iodine content.
Iodine is imperative for a healthy thyroid as well as the proper functioning of the other endocrine glands. An iodine deficiency can lead to numerous afflictions including goiter and mental dysfunction. While both kinds of salt contain iodine naturally, it is negligible.
Either can be purchased with or without the addition of iodine.
Sources of salt and iodine:
- Packaged food
- Restaurant food
- Iodized Salt
- Some plant foods(dried seaweed, baked potato w/skin, navy beans)
- Some animal products
Two things to be aware of:
- Some major food manufacturers are adding salt without iodine to their packaged foods.
- Consumption of large amounts of soy hinders the utilization of iodine.
The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) sodium recommendations are:
- 1,200 -1,500 mgs daily
- 2,300 mgs max. on occasion
- 240-300 mgs a day required
Iodized salt contains approximately 75 mcg of iodine per 1/4 teaspoon of salt along with 550 mg of sodium. To meet the requirements of 150 micrograms of iodine a day requires 1/2 teaspoon of salt, falling right below the IOM’s recommendations for sodium.
What’s important here is to not overindulge in salt but ensure you are receiving an adequate amount of iodine to meet your health needs.
As with most things, too much iodine also brings its own set of health complications. Look out for excess salt consumption and make sure you are taking all sources into consideration.
Balance is the key.