Difference Between Table Salt and Unbleached Sea Salt?

en it comes to sodium, there are a lot of choices out there, but salt is salt, right? What is the difference between bleached table salt and organic sea salt? While lower prices seem to be enough to convince consumers to choose bleached table salt, there are health reasons why you should buy unbleached sea salt, even if it's not organic. Let's discuss the difference between bleached table salt and sea salt.

Unbleached Sea Salt

If you're basing your decision on looks alone, it seems that bleached white table salt looks more "appealing" than organic sea salt, which is usually a duller, off-white color. Of course, there's also always the price to consider. Unlike your average bleached table salt, sea salt is naturally unbleached and usually forms as large crystals in seaside beds. Dried naturally by the sun and wind, sea salt contains trace minerals that naturally occur in nature, while table salt has a lot of chemicals added in afterward. When sea salt is bleached, pouring agents are added, which eliminate many of the essential nutrients and chemicals that remain in especially organic sea salt.

Since bleached salt is processed, it is usually combined with artificial iodine and a non-caking agent, containing three synthetic chemicals overall: sodium, iodine, and chloride. While the nutritional profiles appear to be similar, unbleached sea salt naturally contains iodine, so it doesn't have to be removed during processing and then re-added afterwards. (Seems like unnecessary work, right?) Unbleached sea salt also naturally contains calcium, magnesium, and trace elements of iodine, selenium, and chromium. Unbleached sea salt also usually contains less sodium, but yields a higher salt flavor.

Disadvantages of Bleached Table Salt

  • Bleached table salt doesn't dissolve into room-temperature water like sea salt and therefore is not absorbed correctly into the human body. Improper absorption of too much sodium can lead to potentially serious health problems, like high blood pressure and kidney stones.
  • Unlike sea salt, table salt is basically created in a factory setting and processed with chemicals and additives.

Benefits of Unbleached Sea Salt

Magnesium Here in the United States, people consume too many foods that lack essential nutrients and minerals, especially magnesium. Unbleached sea salt contains magnesium and many great minerals that supplement the diets of modern people. The magnesium found in unbleached sea salt supports many body functions and can even improve nervous system and bone health. Healthy amounts of magnesium also help your body fight disease and lower blood pressure.

Iodine Most importantly, unbleached sea salt provides a natural source of true iodine, a mineral needed for cell metabolism to convert food to energy. Did you know that iodine naturally occurs in the ocean because the salty seawater draws out the mineral from rocks and soil? Bleached sea salt typically contains artificial iodine, which is obviously better than no iodine but nowhere near as beneficial as the real thing.

Chromium Unbleached sea salt is also a good source of chromium, an element the human body needs in very small amounts. Chromium assists with the metabolism of fats, insulin, and carbohydrates, helping the body maintain a stable blood sugar level, lessening chances of developing diabetes. Bleached salt, on the other hand, rarely contains any amount of chromium. Unbleached sea salt can also prevent muscle cramps.

Why Use Unbleached Sea Salt: Bottom Line

  • Our bodies need salt, so doesn't it make sense to choose salt in its most natural form, the way it is found in the environment?
  • Unbleached sea salt includes a variety of important nutrients that we often neglect from our daily diets.
  • To keep minerals intact, sea salt is usually hand-harvested and does not contain any unnecessary chemicals or potentially harmful additives.
  • With a less abrasive taste than most bleached table salts, sea salt does not leave your body needing essential minerals
  • You can use more sea salt without worrying too much about over-flavoring or worrying about your health

Where to Find Unbleached Sea Salt

Now you know the difference between table salt and unbleached organic uniodized sea salt. If you wondering where you can find unbleached sea salt and how to know it when you find it, keep a few things in mind. First consider the color, as natural unbleached sea salt will not be stark white. Real sea salt can come in a range of colors, from gray to beige to even pink! Obviously, make sure to read the labels, and steer clear of any salt that lists chlorine as an ingredient... It might sound silly to say, but salt that contains chlorine is out there!

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  • jo - August 25, 2015

    Does the sea salt need to say “unbleached sea salt”? How are food manufacturers getting away with this? The ingredient list for flour has to identify unbleached flour. This same rule doesn’t apply for salt?

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