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what is the difference or differences between sea salt and regular table salt?

Posted on 2014-03-20
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Last Modified: 2014-03-23
Hello and Good Morning Everyone,

            With so much recent talk about sea salt being used instead of regular salt in foods, I am wondering what the difference or differences are between these two.  It has been suggested to me by a friend that sea salt is much easier on blood pressure as compared to regular table salt.  I always thought that salt or NaCl is just salt or a compound no matter how it is looked at.  My curiousity about this stems primarily from personal interest.

              Any feedback given to this question will be greatly appreciated.

              Thank you

              George
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Question by:GMartin
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the chemical "salt" is just NaCl

The various salts you might cook with are still NaCl but with other impurities in them.
These could be intentional, such as common iodized salt.

They could also be naturally occuring.  When you extract salt from sea water you get lots of other minute traces of other minerals.  Some good, some bad, some in higher quantities, some in lower.  

Same as the various colored and flavored salts mined from around the world.  The color and special flavors isn't the salt, it's the impurities.

The degree to which any one salt will help or hurt will be dependent on what's in it and of course, even if you get a "good one" doesn't mean it's a guarantee of health.

Both too much sodium and too little can be harmful, regardless of what other minerals you might happen to ingest with it.
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by:Kevin Portell
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There really isn't a difference. Sea salt is created by vaporizing sea water and collecting the salt deposits. It is less processed than the general table salt. Sea salt however depending on the where the water source is can contain different minerals altering the taste ever so slightly. While sea salt is boasted as the healthier option you should still be cautious over how much NaCl you intake.
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by:aadih
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From an excellent source: Mayo Clinic:

< http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/sea-salt/faq-20058512 >

"The most notable differences between sea salt and table salt are in their taste, texture and processing.

[...]

Sea salt and table salt have the same basic nutritional value, despite the fact that sea salt is often promoted as being healthier. Sea salt and table salt contain comparable amounts of sodium by weight.

Whichever type of salt you enjoy, do so in moderation. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams a day — or 1,500 milligrams if you're age 51 or older, or if you are black, or if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease."
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by:GMartin
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Hello and Good Afternoon Everyone,

          Thanks so much for the quick and insightful feedback given to my question.  After reviewing the information posted, I do have one followup question.   What is it about salt that makes it harder health wise on someone who suffers from hypertension or high blood pressure?

           George
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by:aadih
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It's mainly because of its effect on kidneys and arteries. Please refer to an excellent short explanation at:

< http://www.bloodpressureuk.org/microsites/salt/Home/Whysaltisbad/Saltseffects >

But, beware, please, that medical theories change with time. Recently I have seen articles that question our current understandings about salt and its effect on BP.

The best is not to pay too much attention to such theories and do what you do for your good health: eat less, exercise some, meditate, and so on.
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by:aburr
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salt is salt (NaCl)
But in all the salt you buy there are some trace impurities. Sea salt differs from mined salt which differs from  Kosher salt, which differs from iodized salt (the most common kind).
Most animals (humans included) require salt. Indeed wild animals (and domesticated ones too) sometimes have to go to great lengths to get salt. But as the above links show it is easy to get too much.
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by:awking00
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A good discussion of the subject can be found at this link -
http://blog.fooducate.com/2011/08/12/sea-salt-vs-table-salt-the-truth/
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by:awking00
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>>What is it about salt that makes it harder health wise on someone who suffers from hypertension or high blood pressure?<<
Too much sodium in your system causes your body to retain water, which puts an extra burden on your heart and blood vessels that can lead to or raise high blood pressure.
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by:GMartin
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Hello and Good Afternoon Everyone,

            Thanks so much for the insightful feedback given in addition to the resourceful links.  Putting all of this information together not only provided an opportunity to gain an enhanced objective look at the comparisons of sea salt and table salt, but, it also aided in correcting some misconceptions I had that came from what I was hearing at my job from co-workers.  

              Many thanks once again.  I did learn a great deal from this post.

              George
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