In a nutshell…
Salt in its natural form is good for you. And unrefined sea salt is the best.
Is salt good for you?
Salt consumption has been said to raise blood pressure, cause hypertension, cause heart disease, and increase the risk of premature death; however, the evidence to support these claims has always been very weak. The organizations advocating salt restrictions in our diets today rely on the results from a 30 day trial of salt, the 2001 DASH-Sodium study. The results of this study say that reducing salt intake will modestly lower blood pressure, but it says nothing about reducing hypertension, preventing heart disease, or lengthening life. And while eating salt does cause a temporary increase in blood pressure, there is no evidence to support the hypothesis that this temporary phenomenon translates to chronic problems. In contrast, many studies suggest that reducing sodium intake to what government policy has suggested may cause more harm than good. The New York Times
Most Americans consume around 3700 milligrams of sodium per day. This amount of sodium intake has remained the same for the last 50 years, despite the rise in rates of high blood pressure and heart disease. USA Today
Although there doesn’t seem to be a correlation between our salt intake and an increase in disease, public health organizations continue to advise us to limit our salt intake to as low as 1500 mg per day–about 3/4 tsp. But with evidence that Americans have been consuming the same amount of salt, even before the heart disease epidemic, and with other cultures, such as the Japanese, consuming even more salt than Americans, recent studies recommend consuming 1.5 to 3.5 teaspoons of salt per day–much more than the USDA and AHA recommend. Chris Kresser
It’s especially important for pregnant women, menstruating women, the elderly, and those with active lifestyles to consume enough salt. Salt restriction for these individuals can have harmful side effects. Ray Peat
What is the healthiest salt to eat?
It’s important to note that not all salt is equally good for you.
Table Salt is mined from salt deposits on land and then refined to remove natural minerals. It contains anti-caking additives, like aluminum hydroxide, to maintain its smooth texture. High levels of aluminum in the diet are suspected to cause Alzheimer’s disease. This mineral stripped version of salt provides little health benefit and the additives may be harmful to your health. Health Ambition
Kosher Salt can be obtained from either mined salt or sea salt. The difference is that kosher salt production has an alteration in the evaporation process that results in much larger and irregular chunks of salt. It gets its name because it’s used in the koshering of meats. Kosher salt can be iodized or non-iodized. It is healthier than table salt because it’s less processed and doesn’t have anti-caking additives. WH Foods
Unrefined Sea Salt is mined from the ocean, doesn’t have anti-caking agents, and contains trace minerals that are good for your health. But there are concerns about this salt being contaminated because of the pollution found in our oceans. Health Ambition
Himalayan Salt and Real Salt are technically unrefined sea salt, but they differ from other sea salt in that they are mined on land from ancient sea beds. This eliminates the potential pollutants from sea salt extracted from contaminated oceans. Himalayan salt comes from Pakistan and Real Salt comes from Redmond, Utah. Unrefined salt from sea beds, ancient or modern, all contain around 60 trace minerals. Empowered Sustenance These trace minerals include calcium, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, zinc, and iron; which are all beneficial supplements to our diet. Chris Kresser
People like different unrefined sea salts for different reasons, but my favorite is Redmond Real Salt. I like it because it’s local, thus less expensive; has no pollutants; and I think it’s so cool that there’s an ancient sea bed in my home state!
Dead Sea Salt is to be avoided due to its high bromide content. Bromide toxicity can occur after consumption. Chris Kresser
What about iodine?
At the request of government initiatives, iodine was added to table salt around 1924 to decrease incidence of iodine deficiencies. People in the Great Lakes and Pacific Northwest regions were experiencing goiter due to soil levels low in iodine and a lack of iodine rich foods, such as milk, eggs, sea vegetables (kelp), cranberries, yogurt, navy beans, strawberries, potatoes, and unrefined sea salt (among others). Global Healing Center Although most unrefined sea salt doesn’t have iodine added to it, sea salt does have small trace amounts of iodine naturally. Today, most people who eat a balanced diet don’t need to worry about iodine deficiency; making it unnecessary to consume iodine supplemented salt.
Tip: Don’t stress about eating too much salt. If you eat real food rather than processed food, and simply salt your cooking to taste, you’ll be eating a healthy amount of salt.
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