Table Salt vs. Sea Salt: Which Is Healthier?

Table Salt vs. Sea Salt: Which Is Healthier?

Both sea salt and table salt have the essential ingredients which your body needs in order to survive. However, there is a lot of controversy over which salt is healthier. Both contain similar amounts of sodium and chloride when compared by weight, but one is less processed and the other is iodized. Because of this, some people have a difficult time deciding which is healthier. But the answer becomes quite clear when you take a closer look. 

Table Salt

Table salt is produced from underground salt mines. It is processed at high temperatures to eliminate trace minerals and other impurities. Once the salt has been purified all that is left is sodium and chloride, but then other additives are added.

A beneficial additive which is added to salt is is potassium iodide. It is an essential nutrient that helps to prevent thyroid disease.

To keep the salt from clumping, anti-clumping agents are added such as alumino-sillicate and alumino-calcium silicate. These agents are both sources of aluminum, which is a toxic metal and has been linked to Alzheimer's disease and cancer. Aluminum naturally has a bitter taste, but sugar is added to mask the bitterness. You may not be surprised to discover that sugar has been linked to over 60 diseases.

Sea Salt

Very little processing is required for sea salt, as it is obtained simply by evaporating sea water. Over 80 trace minerals are left behind in the sea salt including iron, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, potassium and iodine. Sea salt usually is not iodized and the natural iodine it contains is only in very small amounts.

Some sea salt is also refined and may not contain as many minerals. It may even contain additives as well, so be sure to check the label. The darker the salt is, the less refined it is and the more minerals it will contain. Depending on where the sea salt is produced, it may be in a shade of pink or gray.

So Which is Healthier?

The answer is quite clear that unrefined sea salt is healthier, not only because it contains more minerals but also because it does not contain other additives. So the big question that remains now is should you sacrifice your iodized table salt for a healthier salt which does not contain as much iodine? 

In order for you to make that decision, you should know how much iodine your body needs. The recommended daily intake of iodine is only 150 micrograms for adults. One teaspoon of iodized table salt contains over 400 micrograms, and studies show that the average American consumes anywhere between 200 to 700 micrograms each day. That means that virtually all those who consume table salt are getting too much iodine, which can lead to autoimmune disorders, hyperthyroidism and an increased risk of thyroid cancer.

By adding sea salt to your diet, along with other sea vegetables such as kelp or arame, you will not have to worry about an iodine deficiency. Everything that comes out of the sea contains iodine. You should also add fruits and vegetables like potatoes, spinach, lentils, pineapple and strawberries, as they also contain small amounts of iodine.

  • sheldon robidoux

    I think this article makes too many generalizations and it should be stated that the views here are an opinion. Not everyone uses much table salt. People who do use some salt and switch to non-iodized may or may not have enough kelp or foods such as spinach in their diet. To leave that aspect to the end I think understates the risk. In addition, the producers of foodstuffs have also been slowly but surely shifting to sea salt, without a lot of people probably being aware of the fact or the implications. Also the link between aluminum and Alzheimers has been called into question. But that aside, where risks of aluminum exposure are noted, it is for high exposure, such as industrial situations and not from dietary sources which are considered low level. (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts22.pdf)

  • Gloria Medhurst

    I thought this article was very informative, and as with most articles like this, I usually read them with my present diet or lifestyle in mind. There is also considerable iodine in a glass of cow’s milk, if a person wanted to switch to sea salt and was looking for other natural sources of iodine.