Are there any benefits to switching out your traditional iodized table salt for unrefined sea salt? Aside from the superior taste that many say sea salt possesses, there are indeed several reasons you may want to consider choosing sea salt.
The first benefit of sea salt over table salt is that it actually contains less sodium overall. The reason for this is table salt is highly refined and what is left after this refining process is almost pure sodium chloride. It is mined from the earth, so it starts off as a raw form of sodium chloride with other beneficial minerals mixed in. However, the refining process strips these other natural minerals away, leaving a higher per-granule sodium content behind. Granule for granule if table salt, you are getting a higher sodium content.
Sea salt is collected in vast trays from the ocean. The water that is caught in these trays is dried by the sun, and what is left after the water evaporates is totally unrefined sea salt. Most of the time, it is minimally processed. This minimal processing leaves a lot of the natural trace mineral intact, which also reduces the actual sodium content.
Some may be concerned about the lack of an iodine additive in sea salt, as you find in table salt. Table salt added this necessary nutrient several decades ago when a significant part of the population began developing goiters due to an iodine deficiency. It is still added in most table salt today, as one can tell by reading the label.
Iodine is actually found in small trace amounts naturally in sea salt, as it is in most seafood, so you are still getting iodine in its natural, untouched form. It is not as much iodine as you will find in table salt, but most people today who eat a balanced diet need not worry about being deficient in this nutrient. If you are concerned about iodine, there are actually some sea salt brands that offer an iodine-enriched product.
Sea salt also contains the necessary minerals of magnesium, calcium, potassium, and bromide, to name a few. You don’t get these additional minerals with table salt, because they have all been stripped away by high-heat processing.
One concern we should all keep in mind, regardless of which type of salt we like to use, is keeping sodium consumption to a minimum. Although there are additional health benefits to choosing sea salt over table salt, sodium is sodium.
Excess sodium intake can cause high blood pressure, excess water retention and irregular heart beat and can be the underlying cause of a myriad of devastating health issues such as heart attacks and strokes. If you use salt sparingly in your diet, you will help keep your blood pressure at normal, healthy levels.
Since many people report having to use less sea salt than table salt to get that savory flavor in their food, you may want to consider choosing sea salt as a strategy for lowering the sodium content in your diet.