When it comes to comparing different types of salt available in the stores, it can feel overwhelming. Which salt should you be using for cooking? Do colors or size of granules make a difference? Should you be using salt at all? And is Pink Himalayan Salt really all social media cracks it up to be? This post will set the record straight by comparing different types of salt available for your cooking needs.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by GoodSalt. As always, all opinions are my own.
COMPARING DIFFERENT TYPES OF SALT
There actually is a difference among those salt containers chilling in your pantry. Salt is a mix of sodium and chloride. The difference in the types of salts comes down to mineral content, particularly sodium, along with taste and texture. It should be noted that not one salt is particularly “healthier” to have compared to the others, so all salt should be used minimally in cooking and as an added seasoning.
All salt contains sodium in some capacity, which we want to keep to a minimum. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2300mg of sodium should be consumed daily – that’s equal to one TEASPOON worth of salt per day. While there are many different varieties of salt, this post will tackle the four most common types of salt you’ve most likely heard of and may be using: iodized table salt, sea salt, kosher salt, and pink Himalayan salt. A few posts ago I discussed a new salt on the market called GoodSalt. I’ll share how all of these salts stack up against each other.
IODIZED SALT (AKA TABLE SALT)
Sodium: 590mg per ¼ tsp (25% daily recommendation)
Mineral Content: sodium, chloride, some iodine
At least one point in your life, you had a kitchen where a blue container with a little girl in a yellow rain slicker lived in one of your cabinets. I dare you to tell me this item has never entered your home. Morton Salt and its generic counterparts are what’s known as iodized salt, although we commonly refer to it as “table salt” since that’s what you’re mostly likely to find in the salt shakers available on tables.
Table salt is approximately 97% sodium chloride. This salt is mined from underground salt deposits and then processed to eliminate minerals. An anti-caking agent is added to prevent clumping. Iodine has been added to this type of salt due to prior deficiencies leading to thyroid conditions (particularly a growth on the throat called a goiter). You can also get iodine from food sources including fish, dairy, eggs, and seaweed if you choose not to use this type of salt. It should be noted that non-iodized versions of table salt are also available.
Do you know the difference between table salt, sea salt, kosher salt, and pink Himalayan salt when it comes to sodium and health?
Sodium: 560mg per ¼ tsp (24% daily recommendation)
Mineral Content: sodium, chloride, trace amounts potassium, iron, and zinc
Sea salt is made through evaporating ocean water or water from saltwater lakes. There is minimal processing done, which leaves behind trace minerals in the salt. These minerals can add flavor and color to the sea salt. Sea salt tends to be a coarser texture compared to table salt.
It should be noted that while sea salt is deemed safe for consumption, ocean pollution has been found to impact the quality of sea salt. Sea salt may contain trace amounts of heavy metals (such as lead) and microplastics due to plastic breaking down from pollution in the ocean. Research has shown neither of these elements found in sea salt are harmful when eaten.
Sodium: 480mg per ¼ tsp (20% daily recommendation)
Mineral Content: sodium and chloride
Kosher salt can be obtained from either sea salt or mined salt (similar to table salt), but the evaporation process used for Kosher salt results in larger and more irregular granule sizes. Kosher salt gets its name because the large crystals were found to be effective at drawing blood from meat – otherwise known as “koshering” the meat.
Kosher salt is not a 1:1 substitution for salt in recipes due to the large granule sizes. If you choose to swap kosher for table salt in recipes, check the conversion listed on the kosher salt package. Every manufacturer has a different conversion, so I hope you enjoy #KitchenMath. Kosher salt is best for sprinkling on foods as a pinch of salt and creating crusts.
PINK HIMALAYAN SALT
Sodium: 420mg per ¼ tsp (18% daily recommendation)
Mineral Content: sodium, chloride, trace amounts iron oxide, calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium
It’s highly likely somewhere along the way someone told you that pink Himalayan salt is the end all, be all of salt and it’s the ONLY salt you should ever use. Sure, a study was published indicating that pink Himalayan salt contains 84 trace minerals, BUT when you read the data more closely, there are A LOT of liberties being taken with that statement. For starters, pink Himalayan salt contains over 97% sodium chloride, which is the same as table salt. The argument is made that because the salt crystals are larger than table salt, a serving contains less sodium. Which is a true statement if using the large crystals, but if using finely ground pink Himalayan salt similar in texture to table salt, then sodium amount can be similar.
Pink Himalayan salt is mined in Pakistan and comes from the Khewra Salt Mine, the second largest salt mine in the world (for my trivia seekers out there, Sifto Canada Inc in Goderich, Ontario is the largest). The salt gets its signature pink color from trace elements of iron oxide (aka. rust), along with potassium, calcium, and magnesium. These minerals also contribute to the flavor of pink Himalayan salt. Does pink Himalayan salt make a pretty accent on your dining room table? Sure! Is it healthier than any other type of salt out there? Survey says no.
Learn how GoodSalt compares to table salt, sea salt, kosher salt, and pink Himalayan salt when it comes to sodium and heart health
Sodium: 270mg per ¼ tsp (12% daily recommendation)
Mineral Content: sodium (57%), potassium (28%), magnesium (12%), lysine (2%), and iodine (0.036%)
Invented in Finland, GoodSalt is a lower sodium iodized salt that tastes just like regular salt. The sodium content in GoodSalt is almost half of what you find in traditional table salt and the balance is a combination of potassium, magnesium, lysine and iodine. When compared to the salts described above, you can see that the difference lies not only in its sodium content, but also in its high amounts of essential minerals compared to approximately only 2% of trace amounts found in table salt, sea salt, kosher salt, and pink Himalayan salt. Read my full review of GoodSalt.
Unlike some of the other salts reviewed above, GoodSalt can be used 1:1 in recipes without altering the flavor. If you or someone else you may be cooking for needs to follow a low-sodium diet, this will be your best swap in the salt department.
DID YOU KNOW THE DIFFERENCE IN THESE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SALT?
WHAT TYPES OF SALT HAVE YOU USED?
READY TO GIVE GOODSALT A TRY?
SHARE IF YOU’RE USING GOODSALT BY TAGGING ME (@mandyenrightRD) ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND USING #NUTRITIONNUPTIALS!