Welcome back to our Boulder Salt “What is the Healthiest Salt?” blog series where we discuss ingredients of popular salts used by consumers, which of those ingredients contribute to health, and what salts are actually a healthy salt or a healthy salt alternative.
In our first installment last week we looked at Himalayan Salt, and today we’ll be considering Sea Salt. However, before we dive into the specifics of Sea Salt, let’s revisit what makes up a healthy salt.
What Makes Up a Healthy Salt?
Of the approximately 15 minerals that our bodies require, most of them also function as electrolytes. Those minerals that function as electrolytes include sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, bicarbonate, and chloride. The balance of these electrolytes in our bodies is very important. So contrary to the dogma that the best salt is low-sodium, a healthy salt is a balanced blend of the key electrolytes, contains those electrolytes in ratios that our bodies need, is contaminant-free, and tastes good.
What is Sea Salt?
We can best answer this question by looking at how Sea Salt is made and what ingredients it contains. Sea Salt is made by evaporating seawater and gathering the sea salt that is left behind. Like table salt, it’s mostly made up of sodium chloride, but depending on what part of the ocean it comes from it can also contain trace minerals, such as iron, zinc, and potassium.
Unfortunately, evaporation also concentrates some of the contaminants commonly found in the ocean. Heavy metals, such as lead, can be found in Sea Salt. Sometimes it also contains microplastics, tiny particles of the many pieces of plastic waste that litter our oceans.
Is Sea Salt Healthy For You?
No, and here’s why. Katherine Zeratsky, who is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian at the Mayo Clinic says,
“Sea salt and table salt have the same basic nutritional value, despite the fact that sea salt is often promoted as being healthier. Sea salt and table salt contain comparable amounts of sodium by weight.”
The graph below confirms exactly what Zeratsky is saying. Sea Salt and table salt are nearly identical in sodium content and sea salt has a touch more potassium, magnesium, and calcium, but those differences vary based on where it’s made. Regardless, these mineral levels are not high enough to justify calling it a “healthy salt alternative.”
Next week we’ll be looking into a specific brand of this kind of salt, Celtic Sea Salt.
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And if you have any questions, contact the salt experts at Boulder Salt today!