Salt is arguably one of the world’s most important cooking ingredients.

体育投注网址Without it, many meals would taste bland and unappealing.

However, not all salt is created equal. There are many varieties to choose from.

These include table salt, Himalayan pink salt, kosher salt, sea salt and Celtic salt, just to name a few.

Not only do they differ in taste and texture, but also in mineral and sodium content.

体育投注网址This article explores the most popular salt types and compares their nutritional properties.

Salt is a crystalline mineral made of two elements, sodium (Na) and chlorine (Cl).

Sodium and chlorine are essential for your body, as they help your brain and nerves send electrical impulses.

体育投注网址Most of the world's salt is harvested from salt mines or by evaporating seawater and other mineral-rich waters.

Salt has various purposes, the most common being to flavor foods. Salt is also used as a food preservative, as bacteria have trouble growing in a salt-rich environment.

The reason that salt is often deemed unhealthy in large amounts is that it can raise blood pressure.

But even though studies suggest that lowering salt intake can reduce blood pressure by 1–5.4 mm/Hg, there is no evidence that lowering salt intake prevents heart attacks, stroke or death (, ).

The vast majority of sodium in the Western diet comes from processed foods. If you eat mostly whole, unprocessed foods体育投注网址 then you don't need to worry about adding some salt to your meals.

Summary Salt is made of two minerals, sodium and chloride, which are essential for human life. Too much salt can raise blood pressure, but there is very little evidence that eating less salt can improve health.

体育投注网址The most common salt is regular table salt.

体育投注网址This salt is usually highly refined — meaning that it’s heavily ground, with most of its impurities and trace minerals removed.

The problem with heavily ground salt is that it can clump together. For this reason, various substances — called anti-caking agents — are added so that it flows freely.

Food-grade table salt is almost pure sodium chloride — 97% or higher — but in many countries, it also contains added iodine.

体育投注网址The addition of iodine to table salt is the result of a successful public health preventative measure against iodine deficiency, which is common in many parts of the world.

Iodine deficiency is a leading cause of hypothyroidism, intellectual disability and various other health problems (, ).

Therefore, if you choose not to eat regular iodine-enriched table salt, make sure you're eating other foods that are high in iodine, such as fish, dairy, eggs and seaweed.

Summary Refined table salt is mostly composed of sodium chloride, with anti-caking agents added to prevent clumping. Iodine is often added to table salt as well.

体育投注网址Sea salt is made by evaporating seawater.

Like table salt, it is mostly just sodium chloride. However, depending on its source and how it was processed, it usually contains various trace minerals like potassium, iron and zinc.

体育投注网址The darker the sea salt, the higher its concentration of impurities and trace nutrients. However, due to ocean pollution, sea salt can also harbor trace amounts of heavy metals like lead.

Sea salt also contains microplastics — the microscopic remains of plastic waste. The health implications of microplastics in food are still unclear, but some researchers believe that health risks are low at current levels ().

Unlike regular refined salt, sea salt is often coarse, as it’s less ground. If you sprinkle it on your food after cooking, it may have a different mouthfeel and cause a more potent flavor burst than refined salt.

体育投注网址The trace minerals and impurities found in sea salt can also affect its taste — but this varies greatly between brands.

Summary Sea salt is made by evaporating seawater. Though very similar to regular salt, it may contain small amounts of minerals. It also contains trace amounts of heavy metals and microplastics.

Himalayan salt is mined in Pakistan.

It comes from the Khewra Salt Mine, the second largest salt mine in the world.

Himalayan salt often contains trace amounts of iron oxide (rust), which gives it a pink color.

体育投注网址It also has small amounts of calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium, making it slightly lower in sodium than regular table salt.

Many people prefer the flavor of Himalayan salt over other types.

However, the main difference is simply the color, which can make any dish visually appealing.

Summary Himalayan salt is harvested from a large salt mine in Pakistan. It has a pink color due to the presence of iron oxide. It also contains trace amounts of calcium, potassium and magnesium.

体育投注网址Kosher salt is called "kosher" because it complies with the strict dietary standards of traditional Jewish law.

Traditional Jewish law requires blood to be extracted from meat before it is eaten. Because kosher salt has a flaky, coarse structure, it is particularly efficient at extracting blood.

体育投注网址The main difference between regular salt and kosher salt is the structure of the flakes. Chefs find that kosher salt — due to its large flake size — is easier to pick up with your fingers and spread over food.

体育投注网址Kosher salt will have a different texture and flavor burst, but if you allow the salt to dissolve in the food, there really isn't any difference compared to regular table salt.

However, kosher salt is less likely to contain additives like anti-caking agents and iodine.

Yet, keep in mind that a teaspoon of kosher salt weighs far less than a teaspoon of regular salt. Don't substitute one for the other at a 1:1 ratio or your food may end up too salty or too bland.

Summary Kosher salt has a flaky structure that makes it easy to spread atop your food. Though it’s not much different than regular salt, it’s less likely to contain anti-caking agents and added iodine.

体育投注网址The table below shows a comparison between table salt, Maldon salt (a typical sea salt), Himalayan salt and Celtic salt:

Table salt0.03%0.09%<0.01%<0.01%39.1%
Maldon salt0.16%0.08%0.05%<0.01%38.3%
Himalayan salt0.16%0.28%0.1%0.0004%36.8%
Celtic salt0.17%0.16%0.3%0.014%33.8%

As you can see, Celtic salt has the least amount of sodium and the highest amount of calcium and magnesium. Himalayan salt contains a bit of potassium.

However, keep in mind that these are trace amounts. For example, the 0.3% content of magnesium体育投注网址 for Celtic salt implies that you would need to eat 100 grams of salt to reach the RDI.

For this reason, the mineral content of the various salts is far from a compelling reason to choose one salt over another. These levels are negligible compared to what you obtain from food.

Summary Salt contains only trace amounts of minerals. As a result, choosing one type of salt over another is unlikely to significantly affect your health.

体育投注网址So far, no studies have compared the health effects of different types of salt.

体育投注网址However, if such a study were done, it’s unlikely that major differences would be found. Most salts are similar, consisting of sodium chloride and tiny amounts of minerals.

The main benefit of choosing less processed salts is that you avoid additives and anti-caking agents that are often found in regular table salt.

At the end of the day, salt is salt — its main purpose is to add flavor, but it’s not a health remedy.

Summary There are no studies comparing the health benefits of different types of salts. However, less processed salts usually do not contain additives.

Salt is perhaps the most widely used seasoning in the world.

Some people believe that salt is bad for you, but the reality is not that simple.

Though refined table salt is the most common type in the West, a number of other varieties exist. These include Celtic, Himalayan, kosher and sea salt.

However, there are few nutritional differences between these various types. While unrefined salts contain fewer additives, the main distinctions involve texture, grain size and flavor.

Feel free to experiment and choose the salt that’s right for you.