March 24, 2014 by Dr. Sana Keller
Now that it is established that all salt is NOT the same—and that table salt is UNHEALTHY (check out Good Salt-Bad Salt Part I if this is news to you), here is some useful information on unrefined natural salt (sea salt).
A super quick review: Our bodies need sodium (found in salt) to function properly. The problem with regular table salt is that it is highly processed, refined, bleached, and usually contains aluminum and ferrocyanide. Table salt is also missing most of the naturally occurring trace elements that our bodies also need, which makes it more challenging for our bodies to use. As I explained in my earlier post on salt, unrefined natural salt contains a balanced blend of more than 80 different minerals, including calcium, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, zinc, and iron which are necessary for many bodily functions. To further demonstrate the differences: table salt contains 98% sodium chloride—natural sea salt contains 84% sodium chloride.
Some manufacturers are trying to jump on the ‘sea salt bandwagon’, relabeling their table salt as sea salt to promote sales, yet it’s easy to tell the difference between salts: table salts are all white and unrefined natural salt’s color may vary from pinkish to brownish to grayish. It’s crazy how table salt producers thought it would be ‘prettier’ to have salt be uniformly white, so they started bleaching it!
A Frequently Asked Question: What is the difference between the various types of sea salts/unrefined natural salts?
Himalayan Pink Crystal Salt is harvested from ancient mines in Pakistan, thus it tends to be more expensive. It may be more challenging to find in supermarkets, although available online from multiple sources.
Redmond Real Salt is harvested from ancient mines in the US, thus it tends to be less expensive yet still high quality. Usually available in major supermarkets and health food stores.
One sea salt that is not recommended for dietary consumption is Dead Sea salt, due to its high bromide content.
Another Frequently Asked Question: Does unrefined natural salt contain iodine, since iodine is added to table salt? The answer: Yes, iodine is found in unrefined natural salt in amounts less than the recommended daily allowance since a healthy diet should able to provide the rest from foods such as sea vegetables, cranberries, yogurt, milk, turkey breast, shrimp, canned tuna, baked potato with skin, eggs, prunes, and navy beans.
If you have concerns about maintaining adequate iodine levels when using a natural salt, there are options that contain iodine, such as Sea Salt with Sea Veg by Maine Coast.
Informed consumers=Healthy consumers. Thanks for reading! I look forward to your comments and questions.
Photo credits: naturalhomecures.com, nutritiousdelicious.com, northflorida.va.gov, consciousbox.com, iherb.com, vitacost.com, rebellesociety.com