Iodized Salt vs. Sea Salt: Which Salt Is Best?

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I’m sure you’re somewhat like most of the population. We all grew up with good old Morton’s Table Salt or some sort of iodized salt that was a kitchen staple for our parents, right? It’s what they used for just about everything and we never thought twice about it. In fact, iodized salt is the type of salt we’ve always seen in tabletop salt shakers at just about every restaurant out there.

But nowadays, the sea salt craze has taken hold. Although more sophisticated culinary professionals have been using it for many years, mainstream society is now more open to its use in the home.

Before we take a look at which salt is best to use (iodized salt vs. sea salt) and why you should use it, let’s first examine how they get to the supermarket in the first place.

Their differences in taste, texture, and price are a direct result from what type of processing they go through.

Iodized salt vs. sea salt: How they’re “processed.”

Iodized Table Salt

Here we go…

  1. First it’s mined from what is usually unpalatable and impure rock salt deposits from under the earth.
  2. Then it’s dried in huge, fossil-fuel-guzzling kilns, where temperatures reach about 1,200°F.
  3. Then, as the processing continues, the salt’s chemical structure changes practically into pure sodium chloride (about 98.5%), which is very different from natural sea salt (about 87% sodium chloride), which retains all of its trace minerals.
  4. Then they grind the salt super fine and add some sort of anti-caking agent (there are dozens of types, but usually it’s E554 sodium aluminosilicate, an aluminum derivative).
  5. The anti-caking agents affect the color of the salt so bleaching agents are then added to restore the desirable and consistent bright white color that you ultimately find in a typical salt shaker.
  6. Lastly, they add what is usually some sort of synthetic iodine, since a large portion of the population is usually iodine deficient otherwise.
  7. This process is very similar to how we get refined sugar or refined flour. The industrial food giants take whole foods and strip and process them to death.
Sea Salt

Sea salt definitely undergoes much less “processing” than its counterpart. Actually, the “process” is rather simple:

  1. They take water from oceans and saltwater lakes and them dry it in the sun to evaporate it.
  2. Voila! That’s it. Amazing, huh? Pure rocket science, I know.

What we’re left with is pure sea salt ladies and gentlemen, retaining an abundance of trace minerals and electrolytes that are easily assimilated by your body!

Plus, the flavor you’re left with is also, as nature would have it, a bit more “organic” and complex than table salt. It’s what it’s supposed to taste like! Nature!

The less processing in any food, the better. 🙂

There’s no comparison when it comes to the health benefits.

The final product you get with refined table salt leaves you with only a couple trace mineral elements, mainly sodium and the added iodine.

Sea salt, however, retains all of its trace minerals (approxiamtely 80 different types). Minerals like, calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, iron, and more. They’re essential in very small amounts for various functions in the human body, such as:

  • proper immune, adrenal, and thyroid function
  • regulating healthy blood pressure
  • counteracting chronic fatigue syndrome and adrenal fatigue
  • digestive enzyme production
  • stimulating the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach and digestive tract
  • preserving melatonin and serotonin levels in the brain
  • restoring electrolyte homeostasis throughout the body
  • treating various forms of arthritis (through rich mineral salt baths)

It all just makes sense, no?

What about my iodine intake?

Consuming the right amount of iodine (about 150 micrograms a day) protects us in many ways, mainly for a healthy functioning thyroid, which in turn helps us regulate our other bodily processes like heart rate, an efficient metabolism, a clearly firing nervous system, and so forth.

Now, if you elect to start using more sea salt in your daily diet, you can supplement with other foods that also supply iodine naturally, the biggest being sea vegetables like dulse and kelp. You can get them online super easy or in your local health food store. You’re starting to see these items become more and more mainstream nowadays. It’s just that most people look past them.

If you’re iodine deficient, however, and you simply just don’t want to put forth the effort of eating these other iodine-rich foods, then you might just want to stick to iodized table salt. Keep in mind though that you won’t benefit from consuming all those essential trace minerals found in sea salt.

If you believe that you’re already eating other iodine-rich foods like sea vegetables in your diet or you’ll willing to start doing so, then you might as well go for the sea salt route!

Odds are you can get the best of both worlds anyway…

The vast majority of the salt that’s used outside your home, particularly in restaurants (especially fast food and casual dining) is regular iodized table salt. Practically every preserved, packaged, and processed food product that you’ll find in the supermarket contain refined table salt.

So if you had the choice, wouldn’t you want to consume the real stuff (natural, unrefined mineral sea salt) in your home?

If you want to eat more of a whole-food diet and avoid all that processed junk out there full off unnecessary additives (like in iodized table salt), which salt do you think you should use?

Our recommendations…

Although you can buy generic sea salt out there, you’ll want to narrow your search down to a couple of main choices. These offer the most health benefits and are in their purest form possible.

Himalayan Pink Salt

Although there are many types of sea salt available, Pink Himalayan Salt, also known as Pink Gold, truly stands above the rest. It’s often referred to as not only the purest salt on the planet, but also the most beneficial to your health, loaded with nutritional and therapeutic properties, for example – Himalayan salt lamps that omit positive ions into a room or detoxifying Himalyan salt baths.

Himalayan Pink Salt has a rose-colored hue and is mined from salt mines 5,000 feet deep below the Himalayan Mountain Rangerom in the Punjab region of Pakistan. Scientists state that these salt fields are literally billions of years old and contain the original mineral content from the primal sea when earth was first formed.

That’s amazing!

Celtic Sea Salt

As far as the health benefits it provides, this salt is similiar to pink salt in many ways, although its mineral composition is a bit different. This salt is mined from the coastal areas of France. It has a light gray/purple color, indicative of the clay found in the area.

Celtic Sea Salt is collected by hand using traditional 2000 year old Celtic methods. Many culinary profssionals consider this to be the tastiest, best quality salt available. You’ll often find this in your supermarket more readily than the Himalayan salt.

Either way, give them a shot and get rid of that refined table salt!

Cheers to your health!

If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them below! We’d love to continue the conversation!





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8 comments

  • You know, this is just something that should be brought to the light more often! I didn’t really think about this much until now. Very informative. Processing sea salt require so much less…

    • You’re absolutely right… Most people never stop to even think about something like salt! It’s all about educating ourselves and investigating what’s in our food supply. And yes, the “processing” differences between the two are night and day.
      🙂

  • I love cooking with sea salt! I typically like to season meats with coarse salts like sea salt or kosher salt, and use iodized table salt for other tasks (generally just to enhance flavor of bland foods). I didn’t realize that there were natural alternatives that could be used to supplement the standard iodine deficiencies in people. Thanks for the info!

    • If you use sea salt for your seasoning, just make sure it’s a higher-quality one. Brands like Morton’s, for example, offer a sea salt product, but it’s not the best quality and it’s more likely than not sourced via a “cost efficient” method – a.k.a. it’s crap.

      And yes, sprinkle some dulse or kelp into your soups, stews, and so forth and you’ll get high-quality iodine into your diet!

  • Sea salt is the best! I use Himalayan salt in a lot of my cooking and reading a little history into it is really fascinating. I haven’t used Celtic sea salt before but will certainly use it if I come across in my culinary quests.

    It’s quite alarming knowing the process of ‘table salt’ and what they actually put into them. And the fact that most of us grew up eating it on a regular basis – the long term health effects can be even more alarming. Thanks for the informative read.

    • Thanks for reading! Yes, we pretty much all grew up on regular old table salt. It sure is gross the types of additives and whatnot you’ll find in it, especially the really cheap stuff. Anything in its purest form is always best 🙂

  • Hi Baldo,

    Great post! We have been using Himalayan rock salt for around 5 years and also occasionally the Celtic Sea salt. Both are great. Love this post as you explain exactly how both are processed and as someone else said more people need to be made aware of how bad for your health the processed supermarket salt is.

    People wonder why they get high blood pressure and have heart issues. I have no doubt processed salt intake is a major cause. I will share this online. Thanks again for a great informative post! Cheers,

    Kev

    • Glad to hear you’ve been using Himalayan salt for some years now. Definitely the way to go. So many abundant minerals that help the body function better. It’s crazy how processed table salt is. When we first learned about it, we had a WTF moment!

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