There are many variants of salt on the market, but is any one of these better than the other? What are the benefits of salt to begin with, is there a notable difference between the more expensive salts and how much should you consume? We look at these questions and more in our Kosher Salt vs Table Salt guide.
Kosher Salt vs Sea Salt
These are two of the more basic “premium” salts. Sea salt comes from the ocean. It is a natural salt that is processed simply by letting the sea water evaporate, leaving the crystalized salt behind.
Kosher salt is also produced in this way. The name is there simply because it was produced as a way of making meat kosher, because when applied to the meat as a rub, it would draw the blood out. The initial term was “koshering salt” but this changed over time and the name has since stuck.
Really, sea salt and kosher salt are the same thing. If you reside in the US you’ll see the name “kosher salt” whereas anyone outside of the US (such as in Britain) will see it referred to as “sea salt”. In terms of price, texture, flavor, nutrient value and everything else for that matter, these are two and the same.
Kosher Salt vs Table Salt
Kosher salt should have slightly more nutrients than table salt because table salt is produced by superheating the mineral, which strips it of those nutrients. There are trace amounts of these anyway, as discussed in our summary below, but still, trace amounts are better than nothing. Table salt is as basic as it gets and doesn’t impart an additional flavor to the food. It’s also cheap.
Of course, it has its benefits, but it’s often seen as a cheap and cheerful product and simply not the best option if you want a high quality salt. It may also be responsible for causing many sodium-related problems, although in truth excessive consumption of all salts will likely cause problems.
Himalayan Salt vs Sea Salt
These are two premiums salts, so which is the best? Often called Himalayan Pink, this is a pink salt that is harvested from the seabeds of the Himalayas. The minerals in Himalayan Pink Salt are what make it pink, especially the iron.
There are more nutrients in Himalayan Pink salt and that’s what has made it a popular product of late. It has been linked with everything from a healthy pH balance to assistance with the regulation of blood sugar. These are all true, to an extent, but Himalayan Pink Salt is also more expensive when compared to sea salt and you’re not going to notice much of a difference unless you’re eating it off a spoon.
And of course, that would be stupid. We all love salt and the more of it the better in some cases. But there’s a line and this would be taking a flying leap over that line.
There is a lot of negative press concerning premium salts and whether they are worth it. One side argues it’s a cruel joke that the price is so much higher when the ingredient is basically the same and that there is no justification for this, while the other insists that the added minerals make it worthwhile. The truth is, they are both a little wrong. The rarity and costly harvesting and production justifies the increase in price and there is a minor difference in taste to make it somewhat worthwhile. All in all, it’s down to preference.
Sea Salt vs Table Salt
As mentioned above, kosher salt and sea salt are really the same thing. So while the former is a little more expensive than the latter, the taste, nutrients and even the size of it are more preferable to many consumers.
The majority of recipes these days list sea salt and kosher salt instead of table salt. It’s because the latter has gotten a very bad name for itself and few chefs will promote it.
Benefits of Sea Salt and Other Salt
As mentioned above, there are more nutrients in some salts than you will find in others. The problem, however, is that these nutrients are there in very small amounts. You have the salt, which makes up the vast majority of the nutrient profile, and everything else is just trace amounts of additional vitamins and minerals.
You will get more of these nutrients when you consume seat salt and Himalayan salt, as opposed to table salt. But only in teeny tiny amounts and because you should only be consuming small amounts of salt anyway, these are not going to make much of a difference.
You can certainly not make up for mineral and vitamin deficiencies by consuming these nutrients in salt and if you did you would likely suffer more negative side effects from excessive salt consumption than you would feel positive benefits from consuming additional minerals.
If you can afford it, then you should consider buying a better salt, but only because table salt is highly processed and because the other salts impart additional flavor that can bring your dishes to life.
How Much Salt is Too Much?
Salt has been seen as the devil for a few decades now and it’s only recently that we’re beginning to realize that it might not be the salt that has been causing all of our issues. For one thing, we need salt. It’s all fair and well cutting down, but you can’t cut it out completely.
The best thing you can do is to avoid processed foods that contain salt added to act as a preservative and to improve the taste. The less processed foods you eat, the less refined salt you consume and the better your health should be overall. As for the limit, this tends to change from country to country, just like the “X Number of Fruit and Vegetables Per Day”.
In the US, we are told to eat no more than 4 grams of salt per day on average. In truth, however, it’s actually a formula based on bodyweight and this figure is simply based on an average.
Salt vs Sodium: What is the Difference
Salt is made up of sodium and chloride, with more of the latter than the former, albeit only slightly. The difference between these two is that sodium is a mineral, one that is often classified as an electrolyte. Salt, on the other hand, is a compound that is formed when a mineral bonds with chloride, another mineral.
That’s why salts can also be formed by minerals like potassium, such as in the form of potassium chloride and calcium chloride. In some countries the RDA is based on sodium and not salt so just bear in mind that sodium is not salt and 1 gram of the former will not equate to 1 gram of the latter.