Salt and Your Health

Sea salt is salty salt that's made by the evaporation of water. It's frequently used for preserving food, cooking, cosmetics, gardening, and as a seasoning for foods. It's also known as black kosher salt, coastal salt, or solar sea salt. Production of sea salt dates back to prehistoric times.

The most common salt is table salt. It's generally made from potassium chloride and other chemicals. Most kosher salts are made from chloride, though there are no laws dictating that manufacturers must use kosher salt or sea salt. Table salt has had a long history of contamination by animal droppings, pollution, and other pollutants. Today, it's grown mostly organically, although the salt-refining process byproducts remain.

People who have high blood pressure are advised to lower their sodium intake. Experts have speculated that regular consumption of sea salt may help lower blood pressure because it can increase the solubility of calcium and magnesium ions. Other potential benefits are a reduction in cholesterol levels and a lowering of triglycerides. While some evidence suggests benefits for heart health, more research is needed.

Sea salt is processed differently than table salt or even regular table salt. Most sea salt goes through at least three to four milliamps of pressure during the refining process. In addition, it undergoes heat treatment, which may make it even less processed. Some processed sea salt goes through even more processing to remove particles that don't dissolve in the liquid, as well as undesirable sulfur and copper mineral deposits. After the process is complete, the product is often sold as "ultra-refined" or "ultra-fine."

The decision to use sea salt is not one that should be made without considering all of the options. If you prefer to use regular table salt but want to do something different, try a Himalayan pink sea salt product or an iodine supplement. For people who use sea salt on a regular basis but want to retain the natural flavor, they may decide to use sea salt mixed with regular table salt. Changing your salt source occasionally offers a way to retain your favorite flavor without resorting to artificial additives.

Of course, people who are sensitive to chemical additives may choose to go with regular table salt instead. There's nothing wrong with that, either. You just need to know that you're getting the benefits of the mineral and not just paying a premium for the word "refined". When choosing sea salt or regular table salt, remember that your flavor will come from the minerals found in the natural material, not from any added color or flavorings. It may take some experimentation to find what your palette likes best.

There's no arguing that high blood pressure is often affected by sodium intake. However, one study found that people who ate much salt (including brine shrimp, canned sardines, and Herring roe) had much higher blood pressure readings than those who ate a little salt. Another study also found that diabetics who took dietary sodium in excess showed greater insulin resistance compared to those who didn't take any salt at all. Those studies don't prove that salt can cause or contribute to diabetes, but the research seems to indicate that it may make the condition more serious.

Most experts agree that the best option is to choose a salt that's naturally refined, such as kosher salt or sea salt. High blood pressure is rarely caused by sodium content, although it can occasionally occur when blood vessels experience stress from elevated blood pressure. Sodium can also cause fluid retention, which in turn can contribute to bloating and abdominal discomfort. Natural sea salt contains no additives, so it retains the naturally occurring minerals found in seawater, which are beneficial to our bodies.