Ask the RD
Food for Thought:Question
What are the differences among sea salt, kosher salt and table salt?
Essential for health in small amounts, salt has become very trendy and—when mixed with messages to reduce sodium—is probably fairly confusing to consumers. So here is the real scoop.
Chemically speaking, there is little difference between these salts. They are all sodium chloride. What differ are their origin and how they are processed. To start with, sea salt is derived from the evaporation of sea water. Because this salt is usually unrefined, it contains natural traces of minerals found in sea water. Kosher salt refers to a flake salt; it is so named because it can be used to prepare meat according to Jewish dietary guidelines. Both flavorful, kosher and sea salt are favorites in the kitchen. Good old table salt comes from salt mines; it is refined and, in most cases, iodized. Because of its fine grain, many prefer it for baking. Marketed as a healthier alternative, sea salt can be a better choice, depending on how you shake it. With their larger granules, both sea salt and kosher salt contain less salt per pinch than table salt.
Regardless of which type you choose, remember that the current recommendation is to limit daily intake of sodium to no more than 2,300 mg, or 1,500 mg for people with hypertension, African Americans and adults 51 or older. For more information on salt consumption, read the Nutrition column “To Salt or Not to Salt?” in our March issue.
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