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Is Sea Salt Better For Your Health Than Table Salt?

Sea salt and table salt have the same basic nutritional value — both mostly consist of two minerals — sodium and chloride. However, sea salt is often marketed as a more natural and healthy alternative. The real differences between sea salt and table salt are in their taste, texture and processing, not their chemical makeup.

Sea salt is produced through evaporation of seawater, usually with little processing, which leaves behind some trace minerals and elements depending on its water source. These insignificant amounts of minerals add flavor and color to sea salt, which also comes in a variety of coarseness levels.

Table salt is mined from underground salt deposits. Table salt is more heavily processed to eliminate trace minerals and usually contains an additive to prevent clumping. Most table salt also has added iodine, an essential nutrient that appears naturally in minute amounts in sea salt.

By weight, sea salt and table salt contain about the same amount of sodium chloride. Your body needs only a couple hundred milligrams (mg) a day to stay healthy, but most people get far too much — mostly from sodium in processed foods. So regardless of which type of salt you prefer, keep sodium consumption between 1,500 and 2,300 mg of sodium a day if you’re a healthy adult. People with high blood pressure, African-Americans and anyone middle-aged or older should aim for the low end of that range.

-Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
Mayo Clinic Nutritionist

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