What is the difference between table salt and sea salt?

The difference between table salt and sea salt as far as health may surprise you.

Salt is a seasoning that is rich in many of our foods today, including foods offered in restaurants. It offers a property that helps to enhance the actual flavor of many foods that we eat. When visiting the grocery store, look at the labels on many of the processed foods such as canned soup, boxed meals and even frozen meals. These foods tend to contain a large amount of sodium per serving. The spice isle may contain many forms of salt to choose from, including seasoning salt, sea salt and regular table salt. We know that too much sodium in our diet is not healthy, but is there a difference between table salt and sea salt that makes one healthier than the other?

Sea salt and table salt have basically the same nutritional value, although sea salt is marketed, at times, as a more natural and healthy alternative for sodium. The main differences between the two are that sea salt tends to have a slightly different taste than table salt, as well as texture and different processing.

Sea salt is produced through evaporation of ocean water and water from sea lakes. It involves little processing and leaves behind trace minerals such as magnesium, calcium and potassium in trace amounts, depending on the water. This processing gives it a coarse texture.

Table salt is mined from underground salt deposits. It is more heavily processed which eliminates minerals and contains an additive to prevent clumping. Most table salt has iodine added which is an essential nutrient that our bodies need to maintain a healthy thyroid.

By weight, sea salt and table salt contain the same amount of sodium, which is what we should limit for better health. While much of our food is produced from around the world, helping to increase the amount of iodine in our diets, a small amount of iodine is found in sea salt. Processed foods contain high levels of sodium but the sodium used is not iodized. As challenges with goiter are more prevalent in developing countries, having a balanced diet can help to ensure that a person will consume the needed amount of iodine.

Regardless of the type of salt that you prefer, Michigan State University Extension says to limit your sodium intake to what the 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend and choose a balanced diet of healthy foods including fruits and vegetables incorporated with physical activity.

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