Salt is a big part of many people’s diet. A dash of it brings out the flavor of our otherwise bland food, and most of the packaged and process food has at least some, if not a ton of salt in it. While too much salt is not good for you, you might find it difficult to cut down on it. The good news is that some salt, such as high quality sea salt, does have some health benefits. For example, health benefits of sea salt include balancing your fluids, as well as offering you trace minerals. So don’t ditch your salt use too soon. Instead, read all about what real sea salt can do for your health by reading the list below!
Here are 6 health benefits of sea salt:
1. Rich in Trace Minerals
Health benefits of sea salt include 60 trace minerals, and for Himalayan sea salt, another table salt alternative, that number goes up to 84. Due to a lack of nutrient-rich soil, it’s been more and more difficult to get our hands on trace minerals from food sources. However, our oceans and seas are still full of trace minerals, which we can obtain through various sea salts. (1)
2. Helps Avoid Dehydration and Balance Fluids
While too much sodium leads to water retention, too little of it result in a loss of water, which can lead to dehydration. This is another one of the health benefits of sea salt. Consuming it daily and help maintain sufficient sodium levels. This also helps your sodium-potassium ratios. Sodium and potassium work together to keep a fluids balanced within your body’s cells, as well as your extracellular fluid and blood plasma. While you don’t want to overdo it and intake too much sodium, you don’t want too little, either! (2)
3. Excellent Electrolyte Source
Health benefits of sea salt include a good dose of electrolytes. Unrefined sea salt undergoes a minimal amount of processing. As such, it holds on to many of its electrolytes, such as sodium, magnesium, calcium and potassium.
Electrolytes play several crucial roles in your health. For one, they regulate your heartbeat. They also allow your muscles to contract so you can move. In moderation, salt derived from the sea can help you avoid an electrolyte imbalance, which, in extreme cases, can be fatal.
4. Proper Brain, Muscle and Nervous System Function
Sodium is essential for brain, muscle and nervous system function. And as salt contains sodium, health benefits of sea salt include helping these systems function properly.
Furthermore, sodium is required for transmission of electrical signals in the body. Without these transmissions, your body can get thrown way out of whack. For example, your brain, muscles and nervous system will be likely to suffer.
5. Digestive Health Aid
Another one of the health benefits of sea salt is aiding in digestive health. This is another area in which not getting enough sodium can be harmful. It leads to your body not producing enough hydrochloric acid in your stomach. This throws your off your digestive system.
However, consuming a proper amount of salt derived from the sea can help your body produce HCL, as salt provides chloride, the building block of stomach acid. (3)
6. Nutrient Enhancer
Health benefits of salt derived from the sea continue with the ability to help you absorb nutrients. By regularly consuming a high-quality sea salt, you can help your body absorb more nutrients from the food you eat. This includes such vitamins and minerals as calcium, zinc, iron, folate and B12.
Types of Sea Salt
Two common sea salt varieties are Himalayan sea salt and Celtic Sea salt. There are several other varieties, as well, but first, let’s cover what these two popular items have to offer.
Himalayan Sea Salt
Some believe that Himalayan sea salt is the purest variety available. It dates back to Earth’s creation, and is believed, in fact, to be composed of dried remnants of the original, primal sea.
You may have seen Himalayan salt in your local grocery store. It’s translucent pink, and is sometimes referred to as “pink gold.” Himalayan salt contains all of the 84 elements found inside your body. Here are the various ways in which Himalayan sea salt can benefit your health:
- Regulate the water content throughout your body
- Promote healthy pH balance in your cells (particularly your brain cells)
- Promote blood sugar health and can help reduce the signs of aging
- Assist in the generation of hydroelectric energy in cells in your body
- Absorb food particles through your intestinal tract
- Support respiratory health
- Promote sinus health
- Prevent muscle cramps
- Promote bone strength
- Regulate your sleep
- Support your libido
- Promote vascular health
- Regulate your blood pressure with sufficient water and potassium intake
Celtic Sea Salt
Celtic Sea Salt is grayish in hue, and is harvested near the Celtic Sea, in Brittany, France. This is done with a 2,000-year-old Celtic method crucial to preserving its nutrients. Here is what this variety can do for you:
- Alkalize the body
- Lower blood sugar
- Eliminate mucus buildup
- Build immunity
- Improve brain function
- Increase energy
- Provide electrolyte balance
- Promote restful sleep
- Prevent muscle cramps
- Regulate heartbeat and blood pressure
The curious thing about this salt is that it retains its moisture. Despite how you store it, it will remain moist to the touch. It might help you to think of this as a reminder of its source, the ocean, and all the nutrients is therefore has!
Other sea salt options include:
- Fleur de Sel or Flor de Sal: From the French or Portuguese for “flower of salt”. It gets its name from the patterns of crystals that resemble flowers and was once used as a salve and laxative. Today, it’s is used for cooking and as a finishing salt.
- Flake Sea Salt (or Flaky Sea Salt): This variety is not as quick-dissolving and is crunchier than other salts. Its taste is saltier, however, it has a lower trace mineral content than do other sea salts.
- Hawaiian Sea Salt: This is a traditional Hawaiian salt, and is also called Alaea sea salt. Alae is a natural red volcanic clay, which is added to enrich salt with iron oxide. It also gives this particular sea salt its signature red color. However, it’s a pricey sea salt and is difficult to find outside of Hawaii.
- Italian Sea Salt: This variety comes from the Mediterranean Sea, along the coast of Sicily.
Sea Salt vs. Table Salt
The health benefits of sea salt especially stand out when you compare it to table salt. For example, table salt is heavily processed, which destroys all of the nutritional benefits. As a result, table salt ends up being roughly 97.5 percent sodium chloride. And the rest…? It’s a mixture of various ingredients, such as:
- Anti-caking chemicals
- Iodine to prevent goiters
- MSG and/or white processed sugar to help stabilize the iodine
- And aluminum derivatives, such as sodium silico-aluminate
Furthermore, there are 18 food additives altogether that are allowed into table salt. Calling it salt is truly a gross misnomer!
All of this processed fake salt people use puts them at a higher risk of experiencing cardiovascular events and chronic diseases. This is due to elevated blood pressure and arteriosclerosis. And processed salt will lead to your body retaining fluids. And those who use table salt are more likely to develop diabetes, gout and obesity more so than those who do not use it.
Moreover, a lot of table salt is iodized, which puts you at risk for over-iodization. This leads to a thyroid disorder, such as an enlarged gland and other thyroid-related issues. And too much iodine can also lead to nausea, headaches and imbalanced hormone levels.
Many people do not stop to consider the health benefits of sea salt. This is because we are told that overall, salt is bad for us. While it’s true that too much salt is bad for you, it is a good source of sodium, a nutrient needed to keep your body functioning properly. And table salt, being processed and void of the nutrients present in unrefined sea salt, is not the way to go. Ditch the table salt and opt for an unrefined sea salt to help flavor your food.