How Sea Salt Affects Your Body
Sea salt and table salt both have mineral content. Sea salt has been used for centuries as a table salt, while table salt comes from seawater. Sea salt was once harvested by boiling it in large pots, then the water evaporated leaving the salt crystals in the pot. Today, sea salt is still harvested this way, but table salt is often processed to make it more convenient to eat.
Salt is actually concentrated sea salt deposits that have been evaporated from warm water. As the salty deposits cool, they settle, which creates pockets and crystal formations known as sea salt crystals. When these crystals are touched or squeezed, they release the salt into the air. Because of evaporation, sea salt and table salt have similar mineral constituents, but their properties and chemical makeup are different.
Sea salt has more mineral content than table salt. Most table salt consists of metallic salts such as potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, and calcium chloride. While their mineral contents may vary, any further processing reduces these minerals, leaving only the sodium chloride and magnesium chloride in the salt. Sea salt contains more sodium chloride and less other minerals.
As food cooks, trace elements become separated from the main components of sea salt. Some minerals such as magnesium and potassium do not change color as they change out of brownish to white. However, other minerals do change color, depending on the way they are exposed to heat. Most sea salt and table salt have undergone various refinements to their mineral makeup.
Most sea salts and table salt have been processed to lower the amount of impurities. The traditional method used to remove impurities from sea salts and table salt involves placing the salt or saltine on a hot grinder, which quickly grinds it into fine particles. This type of preparation is referred to as sea salt grinding. After the coarse sea salt has been ground, it can then be further treated with electricity or a salt vibrator to increase its volume. This procedure, referred to as sea salt or table salt grinding, usually produces very fine particles that are much less sodium chloride than those produced by manual grinding.
Kosher salt, which is the salt recognized by most countries for use in the food industry, is a product of natural sea salt and is also processed. It is a dark brown, coarse salt that is used in the kosher food industry to add color and flavor to products such as kosher dill pickles and kosher vinegar. Its use as a table salt brings problems of its own. Because kosher salt contains a lot of iodine, it’s best to avoid it in any way possible. Ingesting large amounts of kosher salt may cause hypothyroidism.
The procedure used to extract kosher salt from rock is known as sea salt or table salt extraction. It involves the mechanical removal of impurities from the minerals found in the rock and sea salt itself. In the process, large amounts of magnesium, calcium and iron are affected. This causes the minerals to lose their bulk and form into fine grains, which are further processed into a type called kosher salt.
In addition to affecting mineral content, sea or table salts can alter chemical properties as well. They can cause a reaction in the human body, which can result in negative effects such as skin irritation, diarrhea and flatulence. As they have trace amounts of iodine and phosphorus in them, they can also increase a person’s risk of contracting thyroid cancer. Trace amounts of strontium and potassium as well can affect the kidney, heart and bones in a negative way. However, some sea salts contain substances that can actually reverse a heart attack or prevent a stroke!