Sea salt or table salt has been used for cooking for thousands of years. Many people prefer sea salt on their table as it contains trace minerals that are good for their bodies. However, did you know sea salt can also have health benefits? In this article, we will look at the health benefits associated with sea salt.
As we know, sea salt has impurities in its makeup, mainly mineral salts and micro-organisms. Most commonly, this salty product is highly refined to make it less porous, so it doesn’t contain too many trace amounts of impurities and contaminants that can harm your body. Rock salt, sea salt, kosher salt, and other natural sea salts have similar trace amounts of impurities.
Because most sea salts are highly processed, they tend to lose most of their minerals during the refining process. Some salts retain minerals from the seawater, such as calcium and magnesium. These trace mineral ions are good for human health, but not for use in sea salt products. Because of the high percentage of minerals in sea salt products, some people believe that they are healthier than table salt because they have less of the “heavy metals” in their product.
But is it really that different types are healthier? There are two things to consider here: first, there is a difference between the amount of metals found in different types of sea salt; and second, there is a difference between how these metals behave in different types of sea salt. Magnesium and calcium in seawater tend to be ionized, which means that they are positive on one face and negative on the other. Whereas, magnesium and calcium in table salt tend to be neutral. The neutral content is what makes table salt one of the least healthy seasoning options available.
There are two types of sea salt that you should be aware of: kosher salt and regular sea salt. Kosher sea salt has had no chemicals added to it. This is the type of salt that is derived from mollusks. Regular sea salt has been processed, including: bleaching, potassium chloride, and eventing out the natural mineral content. Although some argue that this process decreases the salt’s effectiveness, the lack of chemical processing tends to make the product less valuable. And, the natural minerals of seawater are lost in the bleaching and treating.
In contrast, kosher salt contains substances from the sea, such as: magnesium, sodium chloride, and potassium chloride. And because it has been processed, the magnesium and sodium chloride are much more easily absorbed by the body, which enhances the overall effect of the seasoning. And because it is processed, the enriched magnesium and sodium chloride content help people reduce their sodium intake by about 25 percent!
Many kosher salt products contain the typical chemicals and stabilizers used for pickling. These chemicals and stabilizers have a negative effect on sea salt’s health, so they need to be removed before using in pickling. You can usually find a list of specific ingredients and a description of how they should be removed from the salt at the back of the package. Usually this includes the chemical “salt-free”, but sometimes it means just “softer” or “non-iodized”.
Although you might think that sea salt has no texture, its molecules are made up of crystalline organic compounds (COOC). When these crystals are oxidized – primarily through heat – they become different colors. The most common color is yellow, because of the yellow color of the magnesium mineral contained within. But the crystals formed in seawater are randomly distributed, and they do not look like salt.