"Salt makes everything better." - Noname
Salt is the most important ingredient in cooking. Without salt, most meals will become bland and tasteless.
However, salt not only has one type but there are many different types of salt to choose from. There are Himalayan pink salt, Kosher salt, sea salt, Celtic salt ... then we have refined salt prepared for cooking.
Not only differences in taste and texture, salts are also distinguished by mineral and sodium content.
In this article, we will analyze the most common salts that can ultimately help you directly compare their nutritional properties and choose the right salt for you.
But first, let's find out what salt is and why it is a controversial component for health professionals.
What is salt and how does it affect health?
is a crystalline mineral made up of two elements, sodium (Na) and chlorine (Cl). Sodium and chlorine are these substance set weak to maintain the life of animals, including humans.
They perform important functions such as helping the brain and nerves transmit electrical impulses.
Most types of salt in the world are harvested from these evaporate from seawater or from other mineral-rich waters.
We use salt for many different purposes, most commonly to increase the flavor of food. Salt is also used as a food preservative because it is difficult for bacteria to grow in salt-rich environments.
The reason people think that salt when used in large quantities is harmful to health is that it can bind to blood in the blood and raise blood pressure.
Although studies show that reducing salt intake can reduce blood pressure to 1-5.4 mm / Hg, there is no evidence that reducing salt will prevent heart attack, stroke or death .
Large amounts of sodium in Western diets often come from processed foods. If most of the things you eat are pure, unprocessed foods, you don't need to worry about the amount of salt you season at the meal.
Conclude: Salt is made up of two minerals, sodium and chlorine, that are essential for human life. Eating too much salt can increase blood pressure, but there is little evidence that eating less salt can improve health.
Pure salt (Ordinary pure salt)
The most commonly used salt is refined salt.
This salt is often refined with high intensity. They are finely ground and remove most impurities and residual minerals.
However, there is a problem with salt particles when finely ground, they are easy to clump. Therefore, people add some substances called ingredients to make salt more smooth and easy to use.
Salt used in food contains almost pure sodium chloride up to 97% or higher. It is important to add iodine to salt.
This is a very successful method in the community to prevent iodine deficiency that has been occurring in many countries around the world, leading to a decrease in thyroid activity, mental retardation and many problems. other health .
Therefore, if the salt you are eating is not a regular salt rich in iodine, make sure you include some other iodine-rich foods like fish, dairy products, eggs and seaweed.
I myself drink functional foods containing kelp (a kind of seaweed) several times a week because I rarely eat iodized salt. This functional food contains very high iodine content.
Conclude: Most refined salt contains only sodium chloride, along with some other substances added as an anti-agglomerating agent. People often add iodine and refined salt.
made from evaporated seawater.
Just like fine salt, most of it contains only sodium chloride.
However, depending on where the sea salt is harvested and processed, they often contain an amount of residual minerals such as potassium, iron and zinc.
The darker the sea salt, the more impurities and minerals there are in them. However, keep in mind that due to widespread sea pollution, sea salt may also contain large amounts of heavy metals like lead.
Sea salt is usually not well mashed like ordinary salt, so if you sprinkle sea salt on a dish after cooking, you will feel it taste especially strong when you taste it.
These impurities and minerals left in sea salt can also affect the taste of salt, but this also depends on different salt brands.
Conclude: Sea salt formed from evaporated seawater. It is quite similar to ordinary salt but contains a small amount of minerals. Sea salt can also contain some heavy metal if harvested in contaminated waters.
Himalayan pink salt
harvested in Pakistan.
They are harvested at the second largest salt mine in the world.
Himalayan salt often contains some iron oxide (rust) and thus makes it pink.
This salt contains a small amount calcium , iron, potassium and magnesium. It also contains less sodium than regular salt.
Many people prefer the taste of Himalayan salt than other salts, but I personally do not see them markedly different.
The biggest difference in Himalayan salt is in its color, if you sprinkle this salt on the dish, it will make the dish more beautiful and attractive.
Conclude: Himalayan salt is harvested from a large salt mine in Pakistan. This salt is pink because it contains iron oxide. It also contains calcium, potassium and magnesium.
Kosher salt is called "kosher" because it is widely used in Judaism (kosher: according to Jewish law).
Jewish law states that meats must be cleaned of blood before eating. Kosher salts have a structure that is rough, especially effective in blood extraction.
The biggest difference between ordinary salt and kosher salt is in the array structure of this salt. Chefs found that they could easily pick up kosher salt and sprinkle it on food thanks to its large array size.
Kosher salt, despite its texture and flavor, is not the same as other salts, but if you let it dissolve in food, there really is no difference between ordinary salt and salt.
However, kosher salts are less likely to contain additives such as agglomeration and iodine.
Conclude: Kosher salt has an array structure, which is easy to sprinkle on food. It is not much different from regular salt, although it contains less anticoagulants and iodine is added.
Celtic salt is the first popular salt in France.
It is gray and quite moist because the composition contains a little water.
Celtic salt contains a small amount of minerals and has a slightly lower sodium content than conventional refined salt.
Conclude: Celtic salt is light gray and moist. It is made from seawater and contains a small amount of minerals.
The difference in taste
Gourmet and chefs mainly choose salt based on their taste, texture, color and convenience.
Impurities, including a small amount of minerals, can affect both color and taste of salt.
The size of salt particles can also affect taste when you taste salt. Larger grain size salts may have a stronger taste and longer aftertaste on your tongue.
However, if you let salt dissolve in food, there is no big difference between refined salt and other gourmet salt.
If you want to use salt to sprinkle salt with food, dry salts with larger particle sizes will make it easier.
Conclude: The biggest difference between salts is their taste, color, texture and convenience.
Minerals are found in different types of salt
A study was conducted to compare the mineral content between different types of salts .
The table below compares the salt, Maldon salt (a typical sea salt), Himalayan salt and Celtic salt:
As you can see, Celtic salt has the least sodium but it has the highest calcium and magnesium. Himalayan salt contains a little potassium.
However, note that these amounts are actually very small . For example, the magnesium content in Celtic salt is 0.3%, meaning you will need to eat 100 grams of salt per day to reach the recommended magnesium intake.
Therefore, we should not choose this salt but ignore other salts just because of their mineral content. This amount of minerals is really is not significantly compared to what we absorb from food.
Which salt is the best?
I have researched very carefully but have yet to find a study comparing the health effects of different salts.
However, if there is such a study, I do not think that they will find any significant difference, because most salts are similar, including sodium chloride and some minerals.
The main benefit of choosing "natural" salts is to prevent you from absorbing a lot of additives and antifoaming agents that are often added to regular table salt.
And finally, salt is still salt, still just a kind of spice to season food without any nutritional value.