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Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt better for you than kosher or regular sea salt?

There's a free kindle book today called Simply Raw in which the author claims the above. Well, she didn't say specifically kosher or sea salt, just "white salt." She says the white stuff is over-processed and the minerals stripped. I don't find that hard to believe about what is commonly known as "table salt" but surely this is not the case with kosher or sea salt. She goes on to say that the two salts she recommends contain 89 or so minerals and is actually good for you and won't cause health problems. I thought as far as health issues are concerned, salt is salt is salt. Any nutritionists on board who can shed light on this?

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  1. I can't imagine using enough of any of them to cause benefits or problems.

    1. Not a nutritionist, but table salt and kosher salt is mainly sodium chloride while sea salts and the other "unprocessed" salts contain other minerals... so I can see that part being true.

      The question I have is whether those other minerals are of sufficient quantity to actually provide a benefit. There's no food labeling requirement to quantify the amount in these other minerals in "unprocessed" salts.

      I see part of her argument as true while the other part is a leap of faith.

      1. The way I see it, there are benefits of using either mineral rich salts such as Celtic grey salt or processed salt like Mortons, but Kosher salt and 'Sea salt' do not share these benefits.

        As mentioned, you get lots of nutrients with artisan salts, but the amounts of minerals and types of minerals are going to vary with region and type of salt. Table salt is iodized, this is because many people do not get enough iodine through diet, so table salt can be quite beneficial.

        Kosher salt and industrial 'Sea Salt' are both very pure and are almost exclusively sodium chloride, yet they are rarely iodized. This means you are not going to get any of the nutrients or minerals that are in table or artisan salt.

        If you can get enough iodine through diet and use a grey salt that is rich in a wide array of minerals, that is probably your best bet if you are really concerned about nutrition.

        9 Replies
        1. re: bakon

          How much would you have to eat to get any benefit?

          1. re: c oliver

            Other people's comments got me interested in finding out, so I did some back of the napkin calculations.

            I got some estimates that salt weighs about 5g/tsp. I also found a popular brand of Grey Celtic salt and looked at the mineral content, found here: http://healthfree.com/celtic_sea_salt....

            Assuming you eat about .25 tsp/serving, I calculated how much you are getting of some of the more prevalent minerals and I was surprised.

            According to my estimates, you are getting about 1.25 mg iron, about 6% daily value, 12.5 mg magnesium 3% DV, and .125mg manganese 2.5% DV. All of these are for .25 tsp servings and there are many minerals that I did not bother calculating daily values for as well.

            From these numbers, it looks like you can get significant benefits from using mineral rich salts.

            1. re: bakon

              Serious question. How much does that .25 tsp cost?

              Never mind....I see it cost $5 a pound.

              1. re: Uncle Bob

                Here's a pound for $4.50.

                http://www.swansonvitamins.com/selina...

                So not very much is as accurate an answer as I can give :)

                1. re: c oliver

                  Thanks! I was just wondering how much all those delicious minerals cost. I'm not in the market for it since I can get all of the Gulf Blue Moon Sea salt I need for nothing.

              2. re: bakon

                Wow. That is really interesting bakon, thanks for doing that!
                Those are very significant amounts. There are mineral supplements that don't offer much more than that.

                I understand also that some of the minerals found in various salts are difficult to get elsewhere. I use a variety of mineral salts (all colors) and love them.

                1. re: sedimental

                  I also say "wow" but in a different way. I consider those amounts to be negligible. One would have to be getting an incredible amount from other sources. And I doubt that 6% (the largest one) is a make it or break it %. I'm willing to be wrong about this. Just saying.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    I don't think anyone would think you can just eat salt and get all your daily requirements. But comparative to other foods, that is impressive. Especially, when this is simply a daily seasoning.

                    There is more iron in that small amount of mineral salt, than in 3 oz of most things like chicken, turkey, crab, pork, etc. to that, I say.... wow.

                    It certainly can be a make it or break it thing for some folks, especially those that can't take iron supplements (like me). I have to do what I can, including cooking in cast iron. It all adds up.

                    It is a very tasty and easy way to supplement minerals, in a significant way. That is great, IMO.

            2. All salt is chemically identical, except for impurities (some of which may be useful minerals), and additives (usually iodine and an anti-caking agent). Kosher salt is the purest, usually containing an anti-caking agent in an amount too low to be significant for taste or nutrition, and no iodine (which most people receive from other sources).

              The minerals in sea salt are not present in controlled quantities, and the amount of salt one uses is determined by the taste of the salt, not by the additional minerals, so it seems to me to be an ineffective way of getting a mineral supplement if one is needed.

              What I do is use kosher salt, and if I need a mineral supplement I will take one in a controlled dosage.

              1. "Himalayan" salt is halite (not nearly as romantic-sounding) and because it's mined from a number of sources there's no actual consistency to mineral content. The lists that show "80+" minerals are fairly nonsensical because the majority (including the listed Uranium) are <0.1ppm:

                http://www.atthemeadow.com/shop/resou...

                There's no question that you get additional mineral content; whether that makes it "better for you" is debatable.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ferret

                  "Halite" is just a salt of a halogen metal, usually referring to chlorine. "Halite" is sodium chloride, i. e. common salt. All forms of common salt are halite.

                2. All salt is ultimately sea salt - even the Himalayan stuff, which comes from seabeds that evaporated eons ago.

                  Until a few years ago, they used to harvest salt around here - I used to work next to one of the salt ponds. What the salt companies did was dam shallow parts of San Francisco Bay, pump seawater into the enclosures, and let it sit for a few years until the water evaporated, usually two or three years. Then they scraped off the dried surface, which was mainly salt mixed with algae, halophilic microbes, dirt, and other assorted impurities. The stuff destined for table salt was taken away to be redissolved and re-evaporated until it reached the desired purity.

                  The author's claim is woo, and connected with the belief that everything refined is bad and everything straight from the ground is good because it's natural. The hills on the southern side of the Bay, where the streams that run into San Francisco Bay come from, are full of a cheery red mineral called cinnabar - HgS- which is perfectly natural but I certainly don't want it in my food

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: tardigrade

                    Technically you are correct, salt from evaporated sea beds (aka rock salt) can be called 'sea salt'. The slow evaporation process does lead to differences in purity, however.

                    When water is allowed to evaporate slowly over the course of years, heavier minerals will tend to settle at the bottom (think distilled water). This means that when a fairly deep body of water is allowed evaporate slowly, you will be left with deposits that are broken up into very distinct band. The bottom bands will contain heavier molecules. In the middle will be rock salt that can be much more pure than other naturally occurring salt.

                    The difference in purity of rock salt is going to vary based on region, speed of evaporation, and other geographic features. Himalayan salt is actually quite pure (>99% NaCl), despite its distinctive taste/color. Generic rock salt can be much more pure.

                    While all salt is mostly just salt, different extraction techniques lead to different chemical compositions.

                    1. re: bakon

                      Commercial salt is purified, so it doesn't really matter whence it comes.

                      1. re: GH1618

                        This is true. The only thing distinguishing kosher salt, table salt, and 'sea salt' would be crystal shape and added iodine or anti-caking agents.

                        Himalayan pink salt does not seem to be purified, however. I think the question here is what would be considered 'commercial.'

                  2. I 've had margaritas topped with road salt in NYC that came from mines in Ireland,while sitting on top of a huge pile of said road salt.... the salt had a rusty color attributed to iron.... we noticed no difference other than the salt was free, and the view for fireworks was limited to friends and family of the importers, and the drive home was illegal.....youth is wasted on the wrong ppl...

                    1. That Himalayan salt comes from the 2nd largest rock salt mine in the world. It's in Pakistan. At 1000ft altitude, it isn't high in the exotic mountains. The pink color comes from iron minerals. The salt is 95-99% pure sodium chloride.
                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khewra_S...
                      http://www.tourism.gov.pk/khewra_salt...

                      Its current popularity has more to do with sourcing and promotion by Portland's Mark Bitterman than anything else
                      http://www.atthemeadow.com/shop/Gourm...

                      1. Thanks for all the replies. More to think about. Maybe I'll pick up some at TJ Maxx if the price is right.

                        1. Himilayan salt: When we moved to Singapore two years ago, the husband's hair started falling out and getting really thin. (Mine might have as well, but it's so thick it's hard to tell.) This is common in Singapore - a lot of the water is desalinated, so has no minerals in it. We got Himalayan salt and started using it, and his hair started growing back in again, getting noticeably thicker.

                          Then there's me. Himalayan salt has a huge amount of fluorine in it. I'm sensitive to fluorine. I can't use fluoride toothpaste without having serious health problems, including, ah, digestive problems. The amount of fluorine in Himalayan salt is very very very bad for me.

                          In other words, is it better or is it not? It depends. For the husband, better. For me, worse.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: LMAshton

                            This is very interesting. I'm so sorry you can't tolerate fluorine. I want to look into fluorine intolerance. I was diagnosed with rosacea (sp?) years ago, to be told later by another doctor that it wasn't rosacea. I always wondered if it had something to do with toothpaste since only the area below my mouth was affected (though I was suspecting the mint flavoring). It is still a problem area but not nearly as noticeable. I was on city water then and now on well water. I will rethink trying the Himalayan salt. You may have saved me some angst, so thank you.

                            I don't suppose you know which mineral(s), or the lack thereof, contributed to your husband's hair loss?

                            1. re: MrsJonesey

                              No idea about the hair loss and which minerals. Sorry.

                              About fluorine - yeah, it's a nasty problem. There are entire classes of pharmaceuticals that I will never be able to take without it endangering my life. I take kelp for the iodine. Iodine and fluorine use the same receptors, so if a person is fluorine-sensitive, then they theoretically have too much fluorine taking up the iodine receptors. Something worth reading up about.

                              I also got open sores in my mouth from using fluoridated toothpaste.

                          2. It's also amusing that folks get all dewy about fleur de sel, and all the vaunted "minerals" ... aka the gatherer's dirty shoes, seagull crap, dead fish, etc. I do believe, however, that iodine is a useful additive, as most people don't get enough of it naturally through their diet

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: BiscuitBoy

                              You make it sound so tasty. lol. Actually, iodine deficiency is not the problem it once was.
                              http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-co...
                              There is more info at thyroid.org.

                              1. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".

                                1. I have found that salt from the sea off Wales is absolutely loaded with psychological nutrients, but then so is Taco Bell at certain times.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: tim irvine

                                    Psychological nutrients are good for the psyche :)