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Rock Salt vs Sea Salt: Which Salt is Best For You?

There are many different types of salt available these days. Which is better: rock salt vs sea salt? Read on to understand the differences between salts and if one type of salt better than another.

What Is Rock Salt?

Rock salt (also known as halite) is primarily sodium chloride. Rock salt is mined from salt rocks that have formed naturally, usually near the ocean, or other salty bodies of water. Although, some rock salt is mined from locations not near salt water. Essentially, rock salt is salt originally from the ocean that has solidified into a rock.

Rock salt is often used for icy roads, to make ice cream and for water softeners.

What Is Sea Salt?

Sea salt is exactly what it sounds like – salt from the sea! Sea salt is “harvested” by letting sea water evaporate. The grains that are leftover are sea salt.

Rock Salt vs Sea Salt

Is rock salt the same as sea salt? Yes! Nutritionally and chemically, rock salt and sea salt are basically the same!

The difference is how the salt is gathered. Rock salt is simply salt from the ocean that has already formed a rock. Whereas sea salt is salt from the ocean after the water evaporates.

Both rock salt and sea salt are usually sold in a more coarse grain, compared to regular iodized salt. This coarse texture can be a nice touch from a culinary perspective when you want to add salt on top of a baked good, or even add a bit of crunch or texture!

Both rock salt and sea salt contain very small amounts of minerals such as zinc, copper, iron, manganese, potassium, calcium and copper. (1) However, the amount of these minerals you get from either rock or sea salt is minimal. These minerals do not necessarily make rock or sea salt better for you.

Regular, iodized salt is made from salt harvested from mines or ocean water too! However, these trace minerals and elements are removed. Regular table (or iodized) salt is more “purely” sodium chloride.

Hands full of coarse grains of salt

Salt is Salt

Salt is salt. Period. Any kind of salt, whether it be sea salt, rock salt, or any other kind of salt on the market, provides a significant amount of sodium. Some salts contain slightly less sodium than regular salt, but this difference is miniscule and likely won’t make a big difference in the long run.

Different kinds of salt:

  • Rock Salt
  • Sea Salt
  • Iodized Salt
  • Himalayan Pink Salt
  • Kosher Salt
  • Celtic Salt
  • Black Salt
  • Fleur-de-sel

No one of these salts is better for you than another. Although there are differences in taste and culinary use, all of them contain about the same amount of sodium.

Salt & Health

Salt and sodium is an important part of our diet. Our bodies need sodium to keep water where it should be in our body. Sodium is also important to help our nerves and muscles work correctly.

However, most of us are eating much more salt than we need. (2) Eating too much salt increases your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, osteoporosis and kidney stones.

How Much Salt Do We Need?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that everyone limit sodium to 2,300mg per day. The average person in the United States consumes closer to 3,500mg each day. (2)

One teaspoon of salt, whether it be rock salt, sea salt, or any other kind of salt, has about 2,300mg of sodium.

Picture of 4 types of salt (sea salt, rock salt, pink salt and iodized salt). Sodium ranges from 2,000-2,360mg

However, this doesn’t mean we should add a whole teaspoon of salt to our food each day. It is very important to know how much salt is already in the foods we eat. About 80% of the salt we eat is already in food.

Common high salt foods:

  • Soups
  • Sauces & salad dressing
  • Condiments like ketchup, barbecue, soy sauce or hot sauce
  • Lunchmeat and other processed meats like bacon, sausage, hot dogs and bologna
  • Deep fried breaded foods
  • Restaurant and fast foods
  • Salty snacks like chips, pretzels, salted nuts and crackers
  • Processed cheeses like American or nacho cheese sauce

Always check the Nutrition Facts label to see how much sodium is in the foods you eat.

Can I Add Salt With a Low Sodium Diet?

Yes! You can absolutely add a little salt to your food if most food you eat is cooked at home using fresh, low sodium ingredients.

However, just a pinch will do!

Salt Substitutes

You can buy “low sodium” salt or “salt substitutes” to use instead of salt. These products are a great way to bring out the flavor in your food without all the sodium.

However, many salt substitutes are made from potassium chloride. Potassium chloride has a very large amount of potassium. This could be dangerous for some people with kidney disease.

Rock Salt vs Sea Salt: The Verdict

Neither rock salt nor sea salt are better for you than regular salt. Use whatever kind of salt you choose sparingly.

Happy Eating!

Melanie

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