Should You Be Controlling Your Salt?
Summary Table salt consists of two main minerals, chloride and sodium, which are necessary for human existence. Too much salt on your food can increase blood pressure, although there isn't much evidence that lowering salt consumption actually improves health. The most widely used salt is the standard kosher salt. There are three main types of table salt, each with its own distinctive appearance and texture kosher salt, sea salt, and Celtic salt.
The kosher salt is derived from germs that grow naturally in the ocean. It contains no odor or taste and has been used for thousands of years as table salt. It is made by soaking raw organic material in a solution containing water, yeast, and herbs. After soaking, it is then treated with bromine, chlorine, and potassium hydroxide, to make it white. Today, many restaurants still use this salt on their menus.
Sea salt is harvested from the ocean floor and is the most concentrated form of table salt available. It consists of billions of tiny grain like material grains, held together by an electrostatic charge. When grains are exposed to the air, they tend to fall to the bottom of the ocean water. This "freeze" creates a unique optical property called flash vignetting. This process makes the grains come into view, with a characteristic iridescent shine.
To the trained eye, sea salt contains very few visible particles. However, for consumers, the lack of visual stimulation can be deceiving, causing people to overindulge on it when what is really needed in table salt is a compound called sodium chloride (NaCl). Because NaCl does not release its charge when it comes into contact with water, it is the superior alternative to table salt that maintains the same properties, including its fine texture. Consumers should always look at the back of a package to determine which type of NaCl is being used.
Unfortunately, NaCl is not the only alternative to table salt, and consumers are not always aware of the alternatives. Most people think that sea salt and table salt contain the same composition. Actually, there are many minute differences between the composition and therefore between the two. Below, you will find information that will help you understand what the differences are, and why you should choose one over the other.
The first difference between sea salt and table salt is the texture. Sea salt tends to be more coarse, and has a more brick-like appearance. Table salt tends to have a finer texture, and is more slippery, with a more wispy appearance. In addition, both types of salt may contain minerals, including calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, and sodium. Calcium and magnesium are necessary for good health, and the mineral content can help regulate blood pressure and contribute to muscle strength.
The second difference between sea salt and table salt comes from their mineral content. Sea salt tends to contain higher levels of potassium, while table salt does not. Potassium helps maintain muscle strength, while magnesium is important for regulating cardiovascular health and helping to correct muscle weakness. While mineral content is not usually as important as sodium in determining the salt's taste, most people do notice the difference when it's presented with the dish.
There is no clear cut answer on whether or not to recommend limiting salt consumption. Each individual's body and diet make different decisions based on what we like and how well we know our bodies work. What is clear, however, is that our bodies need a little help occasionally. Limiting your salt intake is easy, tasty, and good for your health! To learn more about adding an additional layer of flavor to your food, as well as great tips for keeping your table salt clean and healthy, register for a free e-book on natural dietary methods.