When shopping for salt, you’ve got lots of options. You can buy sea salt or regular salt, finely textured or coarse; it might be white, grey, or pink; it may be kosher or iodized. Most of the discussions surrounding salt are negative. We often hear about lowering our intake levels, but then aren’t we missing the deeper question: “what salt should we be eating?” You need not worry anymore since here is a guide to the healthiest salts which will help you choose the better one:
This is your most basic, run-of-the mill shaker salt, cultivated from salt mines. It has a tiny granular texture, elementary saltiness and a slight aftertaste. Table salt is created by superheating natural salt to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, which destroys most beneficial compounds. Table salt is also bleached and devoid of trace elements, so it’s certainly not the healthiest salt you can shake. This type of salt can often contains additives to slow moisture absorption so it is easy to sprinkle in your salt shaker.
Table salt is fortified with iodine, which is important for thyroid regulation. It also dissolves the quickest in food, making it ideal for most of your cooking and baking needs. In other words it is table salt that’s fortified with iodine to prevent deficiency of the important mineral. It has the same flavour as table salt.
HIMALAYAN PINK SALT
These salts come from ancient seabeds in the Himalayan mountains. Their pink colour comes from their rich iron content. This salt is, in fact, quite rich in minerals, containing all 84 essential trace elements required by your body. Pink salt can assist in many bodily functions, such as reducing muscle cramps, promoting blood sugar health and promoting healthy pH in your cells.
Originating from Hawaii, black lava salt is unrefined and volcanic. Its black colour is due to its content of activated charcoal, which is great for digestion and removing impurities in the body. The contrast of colour can also make dishes more visually interesting. There is also another black salt, kala namak, which originates from India and is actually pink once it’s ground. It is highly sulphuric in taste and content. For this reason, it is thought to be a beneficial digestive aid. Both black salts are highly prized and can be healthful when used on occasion.
Kosher salt is a coarser, larger grained salt that is traditionally used in the koshering process to cure meats but has many other uses. Kosher salt generally is free of additives, including iodine. Because of its larger grain, kosher salt adds a crunchy texture to some dishes and even to drinks. You might find it on the rim of margarita glasses or as a topping on pretzels. Kosher salt is also used for brining or marinating and enhancing the flavour of a variety of dishes, from roasts to popcorn.
Seasoned salt is salt mixed with herbs and spices to create different flavours and colours such as garlic salt, onion salt, celery salt and many others. Seasoned salt generally has slightly less sodium than does table salt, but it still counts toward your daily sodium limit.
Smoked salts have no significant nutritional benefits over normal sea salt. In fact, they are simply sea salts smoked at low temperatures over a bed of coals, which lends a lovely smokey flavour to the crystals and a grey or tan colour. The smokey flavour lends dimension to certain dishes, but they have no health benefits beyond those associated with regular sea salt.