The most notable differences between sea salt and table salt are in their taste, texture and processing.
Sea salt is produced through evaporation of ocean water or water from saltwater lakes, usually with little processing. Depending on the water source, this leaves behind certain trace minerals and elements. The minerals add flavor and color to sea salt, which also comes in a variety of coarseness levels.
Table salt is typically mined from underground salt deposits. Table salt is more heavily processed to eliminate minerals and usually contains an additive to prevent clumping. Most table salt also has added iodine, an essential nutrient that helps maintain a healthy thyroid.
Sea salt and table salt have the same basic nutritional value, despite the fact that sea salt is often promoted as being healthier. Sea salt and table salt contain comparable amounts of sodium by weight.
Whichever type of salt you enjoy, do so in moderation. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams a day — or 1,500 milligrams if you're age 51 or older, or if you are black, or if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
Jan. 17, 2013
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- Most Americans don't understand health effects of wine and sea salt, survey finds. American Heart Association. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/1316. Accessed May 22, 2013.
- Drake SL, et al. Comparison of salty taste and time intensity of sea and land salts from around the world. Journal of Sensory Studies. 2011;26:25.
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DGAs2010-PolicyDocument.htm. Accessed May 22, 2013.
- Duyff RL. American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. 4th ed. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons; 2012:158.
- Is sea salt better for me than table salt? Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442458911&terms=seasalt. Accessed May 22, 2013.