Different Types of Salt and Their Benefits (Evidence Based)

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Different Types of Salt and Their Benefits
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The mineral mixture of sodium and chlorine, more commonly known as salt, has played an integral role in the daily life of the average person.

Without it, tons of culinary dishes would be rendered dull and tasteless, and French fries would never be the same. But salt goes beyond just taste, and there are several forms of salts that have their own unique benefits for your home and kitchen.

Benefits of Salt

Salt might make French fries delicious, but we mustn’t forget that it’s a mineral that’s crucial to our own survival. The combination of sodium and chlorine helps a healthy balance of fluids in the brain. They also work with responsive nerves in the brain to control electrical impulses.

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Apart from health and taste, there are several other ways people use salt to enhance their lives:

  • Preserving food
  • Cleaning dishware and ovens
  • Removing odor from hands
  • Preventing mold growth
  • Extinguishing grease fires
  • Brightening laundry and removing stains
  • Prolonging plant life
  • Easing sore throat with warm salt water gargle
  • De-icing sidewalks and driveways

Different Types of Salt

As you may have noticed, salt comes in all different shapes, colors and sizes. Contrary to popular belief, not all of these commercial salts are one in the same. There are differences in the texture, taste delivery and mineral content among each type.

Refined Salt

This is the most familiar type of salt in kitchen cabinets and tabletops around the world. Also known as table salt, it is sodium chloride in one of the most refined forms available. This type of salt is characterized by the fine and bleached texture left after the refinement process.

During the thorough refinement process, table salt loses certain trace mineral and several types of additives that may be foreign to the body are added to prevent clumping.

While there are some skeptics, there isn’t solid evidence against the safety of table salt and the presence of iodine in them is a plus.

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Iodine was first added to salt in the mid 1920s to address an iodine deficiency. Ingesting up to 1,100 micrograms of iodine each day is the safest option for adults and children ages 4 and up.

It is especially important for pregnant women to nourish their developing children. The abundance of processed foods has made iodine much less prevalent in a modern diet, so iodized salt is a convenient method of delivery, as it easily fits into practically any meal.

Himalayan Pink Salt

This type of salt comes from the Pakistan region and grabs attention with its pink and rocky texture. The color comes from trace amounts of iron oxide, otherwise known as rust, in the salt mine it’s harvested in. However, the amount is negligible and deemed safe for consumption.

Because it is a naturally harvested salt with little to no refinement, there are small amounts of essential minerals such as magnesium, calcium and potassium within it.

It goes nicely sprinkled on to foods and in recipes, but many people also use solidified hunks with lights inside as lamps. These holistic health lamps are said to purify and ionize the air around them.

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Further reading: Read my articles about 11 Amazing Health Benefits of Pink Himalayan Salt and Himalayan Salt Lamp – Health Benefits & How To Use It.

Sea Salt

Sea salt is extracted from perhaps one of the safest methods possible: the evaporation of water.

According to the American Heart Association there is a miniscule amount of refinement from extraction to consumer levels when compared to table salt and several health benefits are provided when using it.

It looks similar to the crystallized structure of Himalayan salt, but often a bit smaller and with more of a translucent white color. Sea salt preferred by some foodies because of its clumped texture. This allows for a more concentrated dose of flavor in each bite.

There are some studies that suggest positive effects on the immune system, weight loss, muscle cramping and reducing cholesterol levels when combined with adequate water.

Like Himalayan salt, there are trace amounts of minerals that are found within, including a notable amount of magnesium when compared to other salts.

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Some people voice concern about polluted water. If the salt was extracted from water that was contaminated in any matter, it could pose health threats. Luckily most sea salt available has to go through FDA inspection, but it still helps to be conscious of where your salt comes from.

Further reading: Read my previous article about how to use sea salt for your skin including easy recipes for sea salt body scrub and bath salt.

Celtic Salt

This salt has a unique texture thanks to the small presence of water left after refinement. It’s harvested from sea water like sea salt, but in a particular area of France.

It’s commonly identified by the slight gray color and ongoing moist feel of the crystals.

It also contributes to balancing electrolytes and promoting better sleep. When compared to the aforementioned salts, Celtic salt is generally higher in iron and lower in sodium. This helps if you are trying to moderate your sodium intake.

The American Heart Association says that your intake of sodium should be less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) each day.

Salt is Not So Bad After All

While it’s true that too much sodium is bad for health, people shouldn’t live in fear of consuming sodium moderately.

Depriving yourself of the salt could leave your body worse off than having a bit too much. Simply avoid as much as you can processed foods and try and stay mindful of your sodium intake.

Due to a lack of studies, there is no definitive “healthiest salt”.

The best bet for a health-conscious consumer would be to stick with the less refined salts while making sure they get ample iodine in their diet as well.

Another type of salt which is traditionally used as a bath salt is Epsom salt, and these days we can find it in many of our beauty and household products. Read more about the uses for Epsom salt here: Discover the Most Extraordinary Uses for Epsom Salt

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