Salt: Which is Best?

We all know that it is important to eat less salt, even more so when you have been diagnosed with diabetes. Too much sodium can increase your risk for high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend less than 2300 mg of sodium per day, which is around 1 teaspoon. The average intake for Americans is around 3300 mg or more per day. Most people think of table salt contributing to their total intake but up to 2/3’s of our sodium is already in our food. Some hidden sources of sodium include cottage cheese, processed meats, boxed mixes such as Rice-A-Roni and macaroni and cheese, soups, and breads. Processed foods and restaurant foods contribute a large amount of sodium to our diet.

When at the grocery store, you may notice a wide variety of salt options to choose from: table salt, sea salt, kosher salt, light salt, and Himalayan pink salt. It is important to remember that all forms of salt contain sodium and may impact your health. But what is the difference between these different forms of salt?

Table salt: Also called iodized salt, as it is fortified for iodine for thyroid health. Table salt works well with cooking and baking. Is usually highly refined which removes most of the impurities and trace minerals.

Sea salt: Is made through the evaporation of salt water. Depending on the source of water, it may contain some trace minerals. Sea salt is less ground than table salt making it courser with a more potent flavor.

Kosher salt: Is larger-grained with a lighter, flakier texture. There is very little difference between Kosher salt and table salt besides its grain size. Because of it larger grain size, there is less sodium per teaspoon compared to table salt.

Light salt: Contains about 50% of the sodium of regular table salt. A blend of sodium chloride (table salt) and potassium chloride. Light salt is helpful in cutting sodium intake but has more of a metallic or bitter taste. Check with your physician about using these or salt replacers if you are on certain medications or have kidney problems

Himalayan pink salt: Himalayan salt is harvested in Pakistan and often contains trace amounts of iron oxide (rust), which gives it a pink color. Potassium, magnesium, iron, and calcium are found in small amounts and it also contains slightly lower amounts of sodium.

The table below compares the nutrition content of the different salts, remember these all are very tiny amounts and are really negligible compared to what you get from food.

Calcium

Potassium

Magnesium

Iron

Sodium

Table/Kosher salt

0.03%

0.9%

<0.01%

<0.01%

39.1%

Sea salt

0.16%

0.08%

0.05%

<0.01%

39.3%

Himalayan Salt

0.16%

0.28%

0.1%

0.004%

36.8%

Remember reading labels, adding less salt and eating more fresh, unprocessed foods is most important!

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