Have you ever wondered what is the difference between table salt vs sea salt? I have, and I finally took the time to look into it more. First, for a little background typically I buy sea salt when purchasing salt to go on food for flavoring.
But I always also have one large “regular” container of non-iodized table salt on hand in my pantry. This is the salt I use to make a solution for my neti pot and I tend to pull from this large container for any baking needs. Not all stores sell the non-iodized version, so it is important to note the distinction. I use a neti pot to as nasal irrigation when I have allergy issues or when I think a sinus infection is coming on.
Table Salt vs Sea Salt
Please note, if you have your own homemade neti pot saline solution you must use non-iodized salt. This is an important distinction over regular table salt which typically is iodized table salt. What’s with the big hype over sea salt?
In my experience the use of sea salt in cooking and to flavor food has becoming increasingly popular over the past decade. Particularly, the availability of small salt grinders has saturated the market. I can easily pick up a plastic grinder filled with sea salt for less than $2 at my local Aldi.
I believe the prevalence of sea salt is related to both it’s intrinsic health benefits and the taste. Plus, I believe some people just think it’s cool or the thing to have. Table salt seems boring now, no?
Here are a few of the main differences between table salt vs sea salt I discovered during my research:
- The sodium content in both sea salt and table salt is the same.
- Sea salt is typically minimally processed.
- Table salt processing is what creates the fine crystals that mix best in recipes.
- Sea salt may contain trace minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium.
- Most healthy adults receive adequate minerals from their normal diet, not from salt.
- Some may prefer sea salt for its unique texture, also resulting from its minimal processing.
Table Salt vs Sea Salt
The Sea Salt Difference
The research regarding trace minerals in sea salt especially intrigues me. While I try to eat a healthy diet and take my vitamins every day, I’m sure I could benefit from an added boost of minerals. I further researched types of sea salt and the two which are most-frequently referenced for mineral content are a Pink Himalayan Salt and a brand harvested from coastal regions called Celtic Sea Salt.
I recently purchased my first bag of Celtic Sea Salt with the intention of refilling our salt grinder with this type of sea salt. I have yet to try the salt but am eager to. This salt is also gluten-free, kosher and paleo-friendly. I’ve heard it offers a unique, distinct taste. The company boasts the blend can contain up to 74 trace minerals and elements.
I have also started to use sea salt more frequently when baking recipes which only require a pinch of salt or a small amount such as 1/8 of a teaspoon. A good example is when I make homemade pizza dough. I am now using sea salt instead of table salt. I will also sprinkle sea salt in my homemade pizza sauce, in soups and in stews.
A Note About Iodine
As I mentioned earlier, some salts contain iodine and others do not. Iodine is a vital nutrient for your body and is important for your Thyroid gland in particular. I had my blood tested in 2014 and in 2016 and at those times I was not low on iodine, an essential nutrient for your body.
Usually I have a full-spectrum blood test conducted every two years and I will continue to monitor my results. You may want to check with your healthcare provider on your individual circumstances. Iodine has been added to salt in an effort to reduce iodine deficiency.
Iodine deficiency can be a problem in some parts of the world. Other sources of iodine include kelp and seafood. Unless you eat a lot of these foods, it is possible you could have iodine deficiency and in that case the table salt with iodine added is one source of iodine available.
The differences between table salt and sea salt are minor from a practical standpoint. In the end it’s really up to your personal preferences as to which product you use. I don’t buy salt very often due to the massive container it normally comes in. But next time I do, I think I’m going to stick to sea salt. There seems to be no harm in doing so.
What type of salt do you use and why?
*This post was originally published in 2014 and has been updated and republished for accuracy and comprehensiveness.