Salt is regarded as the lifeline of most savoury dishes. Adding too little will make the food bland, while adding too much will render the dish inedible. Sprinkling just the right amount of salt on food is an art mastered by chefs. But beyond the quantity of salt used, a question that’s gained equal limelight is – which is the best salt for health? With the rise in different lifestyle diseases like high blood pressure, which is linked to increased salt intake, several types of salt have been introduced into the market. This can generally confuse the consumer, which is why this blog is intended to help you solve the puzzle!
Types of Salt
Salt, also commonly called table salt, is a compound made up of two ions, namely sodium and chloride. It has the chemical formula of NaCl.
Following is a brief on the different types of salt:
Sea salt: This salt comes from seawater. It is generally believed that sea salt is rich in micronutrients like iron, magnesium, sulphur and iodine as these trace minerals are present in seawater from where the salt is extracted. These minerals constitute up to 2% of the sea salt’s composition, with the rest 98% being NaCl. The presence of iodine in sea salt is essential to prevent iodine deficiency and conditions like goitre.
Industrial salt: It is produced from the crystallisation of dissolved salts in seawater by the use of industrial dryers. In the final stage, the salt is washed to remove impurities, which results in an end product that is almost entirely left with NaCl, losing the other minerals that were previously present in seawater.
Rock salt: From the underground beds, rock salt may be extracted by the process of mining. Rock salt contains natural impurities like calcium sulphate and potassium chloride. It is obtained from the deposits of rock and saline earth.
Himalayan pink salt: If you’re wondering which salt is good for your health, you could count on Himalayan pink salt. It is a type of rock salt that is mined in areas close to the Himalaya Mountains. Its natural pink colour comes from the presence of several minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Compared to white table salt, pink salt benefits health due to its high content of iron and manganese. Besides, it contains lower levels of sodium – high sodium is often the cause of increased blood pressure.
Black salt: The Himalayan black salt, or kaala namak has an attractive pinkish grey colour and is of volcanic origin. It is low in sodium and contains important minerals like iron, calcium, and magnesium, which are beneficial to human health. Iron is required to transport blood to various cells; calcium is required for strong bones and teeth; and magnesium is needed for normal muscle function. Black salt also possesses antioxidant properties. An antioxidant is a substance needed in our body to combat harmful molecules called free radicals that can destroy and harm the normal functioning of our cells. Due to these superior characteristics, black salt could be regarded as the best salt for health.
Pink Peruvian salt: It comes from the Andes Mountains and is collected from shallow ponds with water rich in mineral content. The carotenoid pigments in the water are responsible for its red colour.
Red Hawaiian salt: It is terracotta in colour and rich in minerals due to its high content of red volcanic clay.
Kaala namak or the greyish pink salt: It benefits our health significantly and could be considered one of the best types of salt that is commonly available in the market. If you’ve always wondered which salt is good for your health, we hope this blog helped clear up the confusion!