The Impact of Salt Choice on Cooking and on Health

Common/Table salt is a mineral composed of 40% sodium and 60% chloride. It is obtained from seawater and is used to impart taste to our foods. Sodium, in smaller quantities, is needed for certain body functions.  ICMR recommends the consumption of not more than 2000 mg/day of sodium and 5g of salt/day. Additionally, there are now types of salts available that differ from the traditional sea salt. Rock salt is not a mineral, but a rock obtained from salt mines which have chemicals with a salty taste. From table salt to rock salt, and everything in between, it’s important to understand the different types of salt and how they can affect our health. 

In this blog, we’ll explore the various types of salt and why it’s crucial to choose the right one for our overall health including the heart. Whether you’re a health-conscious individual or simply looking to improve your overall well-being, this blog will provide valuable insights and tips on how to make the best choice for your heart.

First, it is important to understand the different types of salt available for cooking. The most common types of salt include table salt, kosher salt, sea salt, and Himalayan pink salt. Each of these types of salt has its unique characteristics and uses.


Types of salt are:-


  1. Table salt

is the most commonly used and is typically the cheapest option. It is finely ground and is fortified with iodine, which is an important mineral required for regulating thyroid hormones. Double fortified salts are also available that contain both, added iodine as well as iron. Table salt is often used in cooking, baking and as a finishing salt.

  1. Kosher salt-

is a coarse-grained salt that is mined from salt deposits. It receives its name since it is primarily used for the koshering process. In simple terms, it is primarily in the preparation of meat, as it helps to extract blood and impurities from the meat. Owing to its large size it is also commonly used as a finishing salt.


  1. Sea salt

is made from evaporated seawater and is available in a variety of coarseness levels. It is often used as a finishing salt and is popular in Mediterranean and Asian cuisine. Sea salt is minimally processed by evaporation of seawater and hence is also rich in minerals and has a unique flavour that sets it apart from other types of salt.


  1. Himalayan pink salt

is a type of rock salt that is mined from the Himalayan Mountains. It is known for its unique pink hue colour, which typically occurs due to the small amounts of iron oxide in it. Pink salt does not go through a rigorous refinement process, so the crystals seem larger than table salt and are made up of a certain amount of minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium. Owing to the large crystals, it is often used as a finishing salt. 


Now that we have a basic understanding of the different types of salt available, let’s discuss

Why it is important to choose the right type of salt for cooking


  • Affects your heart health 

Did you know salt plays an important role in your body? Salt typically contains sodium and chloride. Sodium is an essential nutrient that helps maintain normal cell function, fluid and electrolyte balance, and maintenance of optimal blood volume among a few functions.  Owing to its functions, it is important to consume adequate amounts of sodium. A high sodium diet of more than recommended amounts of 2000 mg/day or 5g/day of salt can lead to imbalance. The body uses sodium to control blood pressure, and managing sodium intake can reduce the risk of blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, etc. 


  • Affects the taste of your dish 

One of the main reasons why it is important to choose the right type of salt for cooking is because salt can greatly affect the taste of your dishes. Different types of salt have different flavour profiles, and using the right salt can positively impact the dish, adding to a tastier meal. For example, using table salt in a dish that calls for sea salt can result in a dish that is too salty and lacks the unique flavour of sea salt.

Additionally, some types of salt have higher mineral content than others. Himalayan pink salt, for example, is known for its high mineral content and contains almost 50-80 trace minerals like calcium, potassium, iodine, iron, copper, zinc, and more, which can add unique flavour and health benefits to your dishes. Whereas, refined table salt does not contain all these natural minerals. The minerals are wiped out during the process of refining.

Using salt with a high mineral content can also make a difference in the overall nutritional value of your food.


6 Popular Salt Alternatives for Better Heart Health

Excessive salt consumption can add to high blood pressure and heart disease. Fortunately, various salt alternatives can be used to add flavour to your food while promoting better heart health.


  • Herbs and spices:

 Using herbs and spices instead of salt can be beneficial for heart health, as a high salt intake has been linked to an increased risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease.


  • Vinegar:

 Vinegar can be a great substitute for salt as it adds flavour without increasing sodium intake. Consuming high amounts of sodium can lead to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues, so adding vinegar to a dish can be beneficial.


  • Citrus juices: 

Citrus juices can add a zesty flavour to dishes. Additionally, citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, so adding citrus fruit as a garnish instead of salt to your dishes can be beneficial to your health. 


Miso paste can add a unique and savoury flavour to dishes without adding too much sodium. Additionally, soy products like miso have high levels of plant-based protein and antioxidants adding to overall health.

In conclusion, choosing the right type of salt for cooking is more important than you might think. By opting for salts with lower sodium content and higher mineral content, you can enhance the flavour of your meals while reducing the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease associated with excessive salt consumption.

Looking for more such healthy nutritional tips? Read on to What Makes Cooking Oil Heart Healthy


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