When you think about sea salt, what comes to mind? Just for fancy restaurants? Only used by chefs? Overpriced for what it is? Actually, salt is critical to good health and there is a difference between table and sea salt that goes beyond taste.
Table salt is typically mined from rocks and pits in the earth. It’s then dried in high temperature kilns (650℃), changing the salt’s structure from a compound with minerals to pure sodium chloride. Because consumers don’t want salt that is discolored or clumpy, it’s bleached white and then an anti-caking agent is added. Yum. Don’t forget the iodine, which is important for thyroid health; however, synthetic iodine is used to keep costs down. What comes out of the shaker isn’t the original element mined from the earth.
Unrefined sea salt comes from the sea/ocean or ancient sea beds and is naturally harvested or mined. It’s dried in the sun, not a kiln, so it retains trace minerals and electrolytes. The good thing about these trace minerals is they’re easily absorbed by the body giving sea salt benefits not present in table salt. (We get fewer and fewer trace minerals from the foods we eat because so much or our soil has lost its natural balance of nutrients. The seas are still able to provide us essential trace minerals, as those found in sea salts.)
Other benefits of un-processed or low-processed sea salt:
Keeping Bodily Fluids in Balance
As strange as it sounds, a lack of salt can mean water loss and dehydration. Maintaining adequate sodium levels keeps your potassium and sodium balanced–fluids stay at the proper levels, meaning you don’t retain or lose water.
Getting Enough Electrolytes
Electrolytes found in sea salt, such as magnesium, potassium and calcium, are important to maintaining good health. Electrolyte imbalances can cause some unpleasant symptoms such as leg cramping, constipation and heart palpitations (potassium deficiency, e.g.).
Feeding the Functions
Sodium helps muscle and nervous system functions by regulating water and supporting the transmission of signals in the body. Not enough sodium (or too much) disrupts the important messages from the brain to the rest of the body.
When using salt, moderation and quality are key, and sea salt can provide important nutrients to a balanced diet. Don’t overdo the salt, but don’t skip it either.
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