Salt has long been villainized by doctors – alongside fat and sugar – as among the worst things you can eat. We have been warned that salt raises blood pressure and increases the risk for stroke and heart problems. As a result, there is a whole food industry devoted to low-sodium products and to salt substitutes.
But some experts have started to express doubt about whether salt deserves its bad reputation. The fact is, not all salt is created equal. Certain types of salt are less damaging and can even be beneficial to our health, they say. Both the sodium and chlorine found in salt are essential for your body because they help facilitate the electrical impulses between your brain and body, says Healthline.
Tara Gidus Collingwood, a Florida-based registered dietitian tells Newsmax that there are some nutritional variations in table, kosher, and sea salts.
“Their textures, uses, and compositions are different and therefore they affect us differently,” Collingwood says.
Table salt, which is essentially sodium chloride, is the common salt found in shakers. It is mined from underground sources and then processed to give it a fine texture. Table salt usually contains an anti-clumping agent to allow it to flow easily. Most table salts also include added iodine, which is added to reduce iodine deficiency, a leading cause of thyroid problems.
Because table salt can flow out of shakers quickly and because it also dissolves quickly, it can be easy to over-salt foods. Also, in the refining process, healthy minerals are stripped from table salt. It is usually pure sodium chloride, with iodine and anti-clumping agents added.
Kosher salt can be either mined from the earth or harvested from the sea. It has a coarse texture, which causes it to dissolve more slowly than table salt. The larger crystals and crunchy texture often make foods taste saltier, therefore people use less of it. Kosher salt is usually refined so has few beneficial minerals. It is less likely to contain additives and anti-clumping agents.
Sea salt is obtained by evaporating sea water. The residue left behind contains not only sodium chloride, but trace amounts of other essential minerals like potassium, iron, and zinc, according to Healthline. Look for unrefined sea salt, which contains no additives like anti-clumping agents, and also has higher levels of vital minerals. The flavor tends to be a bit stronger which may lead you to use less, reducing your sodium intake. However, with the pollution of our oceans, experts say that sea salt may also contain trace amounts of heavy metals and microplastics.
Stephen Sinatra, M.D., a renowned cardiologist and bestselling author of “The Great Cholesterol Myth,” tells Newsmax that he recommends Celtic or Himalayan salts ― two types of sea salt ― because they contain more minerals than other sea salts. These minerals include magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Because of their larger crystals, kosher and sea salts contain 20 percent less sodium per tablespoon than table salt.
According to Healthline, Celtic salt has the least amount of sodium and the highest amount of calcium and magnesium. Himalayan salt contains a bit of potassium, which a recent study found to be heart healthy. Sinatra says all forms of salt should be used in moderation.
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