The Healthiest Kinds of Salt: These Contain More Nutrients & Less Sodium

Since salt is an essential ingredient, knowing which type is healthiest is important.

By: Flora Zhao The Epoch Times

Sodium is an essential micronutrient for maintaining life functions, but some people don’t take enough. However, most people over-binge on it, which can have negative effects.

Of the sodium we consume in daily life, 70% comes from processed foods or restaurants. For example, the salt in one pizza can reach nearly 2 teaspoons (10 grams), while a Chinese meal contains around 8 grams.

From this perspective, cooking at home using natural ingredients may be the best way to control salt intake. Since salt is an essential ingredient, knowing which type is healthiest is important.

Natural Salt Contains More Minerals

Understanding the sources and processing methods of various salts is paramount for making an informed choice.

Table salt comes in many varieties, including sea, lake, rock, and well salt. Sea and lake salts are extracted by evaporating seawater or salt-rich lake water, while rock salt comes from underground salt deposits. Well salts are obtained from salt-rich wells found in non-coastal areas.

Rock salt, a popular type, is extracted from underground deposits and then ground. Himalayan pink salt is a well-known variety, primarily sourced from the Punjab region of Pakistan, about 100 miles south of the Himalayas. These salt deposits were formed between 600 million and 800 million years ago as ancient oceans slowly evaporated, leaving behind salt beds. These beds were later pushed deep into the Earth’s crust by geological movements, eventually forming large salt domes hundreds or even thousands of feet below the surface. In this context, Himalayan pink salt, mined from these deposits, remains uncontaminated by modern toxins or pollutants.

When it comes to table salt, many people often think of the pure white, finely ground refined salt. Refined salt also comes from the sea, mines, or lakes but undergoes additional processing, including washing with a saturated sodium chloride solution, followed by heating, centrifugal drying, and grinding. During this process, other minerals and trace elements are largely removed, leaving behind only the pure white, finely ground sodium chloride. To keep the salt loose and dry for a long time, manufacturers also add anti-caking agents, such as sodium ferrocyanide, sodium silicate, and aluminium ferrocyanide. Additionally, iodide compounds, such as sodium iodide, potassium iodide, or sodium iodate, are added to iodized salt.

These factors result in variations in the composition of refined salt and natural salt. Generally, table salt contains 97% to 99% sodium chloride, while natural salt has slightly lower sodium chloride content and contains more minerals and trace elements.

Comparing Himalayan pink salt and table salt, 1 gram of Himalayan pink salt contains about 394 milligrams of sodium, 2.7 milligrams of calcium, 2.7 milligrams of magnesium, 2.4 milligrams of potassium, and 64 micrograms of iron. Additionally, it contains trace elements such as chromium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, and other minerals. In contrast, 1 gram of table salt contains about 430 milligrams of sodium, but only 0.40 milligram of calcium, 0.08 milligram of magnesium, and 0.15 milligram of potassium, with almost zero other trace elements.

However, while natural salts like Himalayan pink salt are more mineral-rich, it is not feasible to obtain the necessary minerals for the human body through the large consumption of natural salts.

“If I take Himalayan salt, that would have maybe four times the level of potassium to table salt per serving,” said Cindy Chan Phillips, a registered dietician, during an interview with The Epoch Times. However, she emphasized, “In the overall picture of what we need a day, this is still a very small amount, which is not enough big difference to make that big of a difference in our health.”

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Coarser Means Lower Sodium Content

The key factor in sodium content is not the type of salt but the coarseness of the grind. “Because the coarser the texture is, the lower (the) level of sodium per teaspoon,” Ms. Phillips noted while discussing the differences between salts.

She explained that as coarser salt contains more air, a teaspoon of coarse salt actually has less salt than a teaspoon of finely ground table salt, resulting in lower sodium content.

Therefore, she recommends that individuals looking to reduce their sodium intake try using salt with a coarser grind.

Sea Salt Poses A Risk of Microplastic Pollution

From a manufacturing perspective, the cheapest salt comes from the ocean. However, in recent years, extensive research has found the presence of microplastic pollutants there. The amount of microplastics in sea salt is directly related to the pollution levels in different marine environments. Some studies indicate that the amount of microplastics in sea salt is similar to that in rock salt. Researchers speculate that the source of microplastics in rock salt may be introduced during the production process.

Therefore, it is advisable to choose sea salt from regions with lower pollution levels and rock salt produced under controlled conditions.

Should We Opt For Iodized Salt?

Most commercially available iodized salt is refined salt, while most natural salt products are not iodized. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that the iodine content in non-iodized sea salt is minimal, providing virtually no iodine.

So should we opt for iodized salt for our health? To understand this, let’s first look at the origins of iodized salt.

Iodine is a trace element naturally found in certain foods and is crucial for synthesizing thyroid hormones in the body. A healthy adult typically has about 15 milligrams to 20 milligrams of iodine, with 70% to 80% stored in the thyroid gland. When iodide enters the bloodstream, the thyroid gland concentrates the appropriate amount of iodine to synthesize thyroid hormones, with the rest being excreted in urine. Typically, adults require 150 micrograms of iodine per day.

Before the 1920s, there was endemic iodine deficiency in the Appalachians, Great Lakes, and Northwestern regions of the United States, an area known as the “goiter belt.” During World War I, Simon Levin, a Michigan physician, observed that out of 583 registrants for the draft, 30.3% exhibited symptoms of thyromegaly (goiter, or inflamed thyroid), with many disqualified from the military due to their condition.

After the successful implementation of Switzerland’s salt iodization program, the United States introduced iodized salt in the 1920s, significantly improving its iodine nutritional status. Current national studies highlight that Americans are generally iodine-sufficient. Iodized salt in the United States contains 45 micrograms of iodine per gram of salt; measured samples of iodized salt contain an average of 47.5 micrograms to 50.7 micrograms of iodine per gram of salt.

Additionally, some bread manufacturers use iodate or calcium iodate as bread conditioners, so these types of bread contribute significantly to iodine intake. According to the 2019 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Branded Food Products Database, about 20% of ingredient labels for white bread, whole-wheat bread, hamburger buns, and hot dog buns listed iodate.

While iodized salt is a simple way to get sufficient iodine, it is best to obtain iodine from natural foods. Some good sources of iodine include seaweed (such as kelp, wakame, kombu, and nori), seafood, eggs, milk, and dairy products.

James DiNicolantonio, a cardiovascular research scientist and doctor of pharmacy at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Missouri, and author of “The Salt Fix,” told The Epoch Times in an email interview that cranberries are also relatively rich in iodine content, apart from the foods mentioned above.

The bottom line is that you can greatly reduce the risk of iodine deficiency by simply including iodine-rich foods in your diet.

High-Quality Salt In The US

“My preferred salt is Redmond Real Salt because it’s sourced from the United States and contains over 60 trace minerals,“ said Mr. DiNicolantonio. Moreover, he noted that ”[The brand is] also higher in iodine compared to regular table salt or sea salt.”

In prehistoric times, an inland sea known as the Sundance Sea covered what is now Redmond, Utah. Although it has since disappeared, its remnants have formed a vast, pristine underground salt deposit through geological movements. This deposit, protected beneath layers of volcanic ash and clay, has been well-preserved and has never been exposed to manmade pollutants.

In this sense, the salt produced in this region is very similar to Himalayan salt, but it is mined and produced locally in the United States, ensuring reliable production techniques and quality. Moreover, since it does not require long-distance transportation, its cost is 50% lower than Himalayan pink salt. It also boasts a subtle sweetness.

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Top 4 Heart-Healthy Fruits Enhance Cardiovascular Protection

Fruit is fresh, delicious, and rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, promoting overall health. In this article, we will introduce four fruits—blueberries, cherries, mulberries, and raspberries—that possess anti-aging and heart-protective properties. These fruits reduce the risk of heart disease and offer various additional health benefits.


The nutritional value of blueberries is exceptionally high and contributes to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Research has found that blueberries exhibit anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, as well as benefits for vascular and glucoregulatory function (blood sugar regulation). Eating one-third of a cup of cup of blueberries daily can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, Type 2 diabetes, and all-cause mortality.

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