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Does Healthy Sea Salt Really Exist?

Your Sea Salt Is Probably Junk

Salt has really gotten a bad reputation over the last few decades.

It’s been pegged as a culprit in hypertension (high blood pressure) and many people across the nation are on a low salt diet. Some food companies are so dedicated to producing low-salt foods that they end up making no-taste foods. I tested a gluten-free processed dinner (like a hamburger helper mix) and it was absolutely terrible until we added about a teaspoon of salt. Then it was excellent.

Low salt not only means low flavor, but too little salt can lead to death quicker than an adequate salt intake:

A 2006 study published in The American Journal of Medicine tells us that “sodium intake of less than 2300 mg (the daily recommended allowance) was associated with a 37%  increase in cardiovascular disease mortality and a 28% increase of all-cause mortality. 1

Surprised? I bet you’re not the only one.

What Is Salt?

Salt is mainly two minerals, sodium and chloride. It is found in seawater and in mineral deposits within the earth, which are from ancient seas – therefore all salt is really “sea salt” at its origins!

Our Bodies Need Salt

We all know our bodies are made up of mostly water, but did you know it’s actually salt water, with a very similar composition to the ocean? That’s why when someone is ill, they receive a saline, or salt-water, solution, directly into their bloodstream.

Salt is actually essential to life:

  • Salt is necessary to retain hydration, the reason why salt is in drinks like Gatorade and other electrolyte drinks doctors use to treat patients suffering from dehydration, diarrhea, etc. (here is my healthy homemade version)
  • Salt is key to carrying babies to term
  • Salt regulates blood sugar, important for diabetics not to have low salt intake
  • Salt contributes to a healthy thyroid because of iodine
  • Salt acts as an antihistamine
  • It’s even a sleep aid! A few grains in a glass of water before bed helps you sleep more soundly.
    Source: 3

It’s certainly important to mention that many people, processed food eating Americans in particular, get too much sodium, and the wrong kind. Salt, like many other foods, has a “real” or “whole foods” way to find it and a “fake” or “processed” version.

Why Are There Different Salts?

If all salt is ultimately “sea salt,” what’s the big deal with the million kinds of salt you can find in a specialty store?

Some salts are different simply for their flavor or texture, intended for the gourmet cook to be able to choose the right salt for a given dish.

However, on the nutritional spectrum, there are three main categories of salt worth exploring:

  1. Table salt
    The common white salt you’re used to. Table salt is only sodium and chloride, usually mined from rock salt or seawater.2 It then has the other naturally occurring minerals stripped from it, which are often sold to vitamin companies at a premium price.This refining results in a bitter taste, which is one reason for the fillers, including dextrose (good old corn sugar). Anti-caking agents are also usually added, and it’s sprayed with synthetic iodine to make up for the minerals taken out. (More below) Any anti-caking agent serves to prevent absorption of water, which defeats salt’s purpose to help our bodies retain water. They’re not good for us!
  2. Sea salt
    The label “sea salt” feels to me more of a marketing campaign strategy to convince people to pay a higher price for “health food” than a helpful statement of truth. Again, since all sodium chloride ultimately came from a sea at some point, all salt is sea salt. The common white sea salt sold for 2-3x the price of iodized table salt is refined in a similar way to table salt, removing most of the minerals in the process.4 White sea salt is no healthier than table salt, and is lacking the iodine that your body does need.
  3. Unrefined sea salt
    Harvested sea salt that is not refined actually has over 60 different minerals in it (instead of TWO). As usual, when we take something out of a natural food product, we end up with problems (see below on high blood pressure). The balance God created in salt is key. Why we’re surprised by that I don’t understand. Unrefined salt will usually be colorful, with shades of pink, brown, or grey, depending on the source. Some brands that help you make sure you’re getting real, unrefined sea salt include Real Salt, Celtic Sea Salt, and Himalayan Salt. We’ll talk Monday about the differences in the three. The bottom line is that real, unrefined sea salt provides a natural balance of minerals that keeps us healthy instead of making us sick.

    Not everyone buys into “healthy salt.” Here’s an alternative view from Mayo Clinic: “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.”

What About Iodine?

Iodine began to be added to salt simply because people were having goiter problems because of iodine deficiencies, and salt was one place iodine could be “stuck” that everyone would use. Real, unrefined sea salt is a natural source of iodine, but we likely don’t get all that we need if we consume unrefined salt. Iodine is also found naturally in many other foods, like eggs, seaweed (I add this to my chicken stock recipe), yogurt, strawberries and mozzarella cheese. As usual, we’re not locked into getting a nutrient from just one food source in nature.

The bottom line again? You can get the iodine your body needs from unrefined salt plus a balanced diet including some of the foods listed above. If you’re deficient in iodine, you could go with a synthetic additive in table salt, or take a real supplement made of sea vegetables.

Does Salt Increase Blood Pressure?

My father-in-law struggles with high blood pressure and talks constantly about how he has to watch his salt intake. Unfortunately, he focuses mostly on the salt shaker and not on all the hidden sodium content certainly in the restaurant food my in-laws rely on after a hard day’s work. He also doesn’t know anything about the different kinds of salt. I’m excited to have a box of the cutest little samples from Real Salt, and you better believe I’m sharing some with them!

Folks with high blood pressure are often told to lay off the salt, and for good reason. A lower sodium diet – when people go from table salt and processed foods to less salt – does reduce blood pressure.

However.

Statistics can be tricky.

The risk of high blood pressure is actually a cardiovascular incident like heart disease or a heart attack. However lower-sodium diets have been shown to have negative effects on cardiovascular health – especially for individuals with diabetes – and/or have no positive impact on overall cardiovascular health.5

Simply using real, unrefined sea salt as your body craves it can improve your health and certainly doesn’t sound like it will increase your blood pressure. It’s a very simple change to make, which is why we’re talking salt today!s

Making the Switch

Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to upgrade your salt.

If you are still using iodized table salt, or even bright white sea salt, it’s time to make an easy, easy switch.

Is Salt Traditional?

Salt was a prized commodity hundreds and thousands of years ago. It’s necessary for the rising of bread, many fermentation practices and other food preservation techniques. Without salt, humans would die and many of our favorite foods would be rendered impossible.

Christ also said in the Gospels (as an astute reader pointed out), “You are the salt of the earth,” and in so many other places in Scripture, salt is discussed in only a positive light.

I have a hard time believing that something so greatly-sought-after, so honored in the Scriptures, could be the demon our culture has made it out to be.

Unrefined Sea Salt

Ultimately, all salt comes from the sea. Unrefined sea salt comes in 3 kinds that I know of:

  1. Himalayan Salt
  2. Celtic Sea Salt
  3. Real Salt

You can tell you’ve got a winner if your salt is various colors, often pink, tan, grey, or speckled.

Himalayan Salt

imageI had never heard of Himalayan Salt until I posted something on Facebook asking what kind of salt people used. It turns out Himalayan salt is an ancient deposit of salt beneath the earth in the Himalayan Mountains, which means the product avoids modern pollution in the oceans. All of its minerals are intact, and I do hear some good things about it.

One deficit of Himalayan Salt is that it does have to be flown in from Pakistan, so there’s some environmental (and likely financial) cost there. You can price check various kinds:

  • Coarse granules (you’ll need a grinder for these; some come with their own grinder)
  • Fine grain (the kind you can put in any old salt shaker)

Celtic Salt

imageCeltic salt is harvested in the Atlantic off the coast of France using old world methods. Wooden rakes ensure no metal ever touches the salt. It is naturally dried and contains all 84 trace elements.source

It also comes in both coarse and pre-ground like the Himalayan salt. I recommend price checking around and considering buying in bulk because salt never goes bad! If you get the coarse granules, you need a ceramic salt grinder, like this simple one or this one. This one by OXO is the one we’ve had for at least 5 years and it’s held up nicely.

Real Salt

imageReal Salt is mined from an ancient sea in the depths of Utah. Like Himalayan salt, it is exempt from the issues of modern pollution. Mining 300 feet below the surface, they take care to make sure no contaminants enter the salt during processing.

You can see Real Salt’s full nutritional profile here.

They do an interesting thing on the Real Salt website, talking well about the competition. You can see their comparison of these three salts right here. I have to say, I like their sassiness!

The cost that I’ve paid in West Michigan (in 2011) includes a 9 oz. shaker for $3.59 at image Meijer and $7.05 for a 28 oz. (not quite 2 lbs.) bag at a local health food store. They sell a bulk 10-lb. bucket online, and I see earth-friendly packaging, all paper, options there too, which is pretty cool. My favorite source is Country Life Natural Foods where I can get a 25-pound bag for under $70 (in 2016) which is a crazy good deal! It’s definitely worth pricing around.

What I Use

I use both Celtic Salt and Real Salt. I got a huge bulk bag of Celtic Salt last year, and for quite a while, I only used it in soups where I knew it would dissolve, because I hadn’t tracked down a ceramic salt grinder (metal would rust because of the moisture content).

Now that I have one, I can use it at the table, but I realized that I’d have to grind salt for baking. There’s no way I’m going to grind a teaspoon or two of salt to make bread – I spend enough time standing around in my kitchen!

So for me, granulated salt is paramount. I’m very happy to have my bulk package of Real Salt, which I feel like I’m constantly replacing!

Benefits to Real Salt

In my book, Real Salt is the winner. Here are just a few reasons:

  • U.S. company (we Americans are not dependent on foreign salt)
  • Protected from pollution because it’s mined underground
  • Easy to find, even in my big chain grocery store
  • Already granulated – no grinding salt just to make bread or muffins

For me, I’ve decided to listen to my body and salt my food as it tastes good. Many people would probably pop their eyes open seeing me generously shake salt on my baked potatoes and eggs. But the good stuff, I believe, won’t hurt me, and since we eat hardly any processed foods, I bet I still get less salt than the average American.

Here’s something interesting – in January 2011, the government lowered their daily requirements for salt intake by almost a third, from 2300 mg to 1500. Phew! I wasn’t happy to read that, but I’m so pumped to share that in 2015 they popped the number right back up to 2300 mg/day! Funny, eh? Just goes to show that it’s not always wise to follow the “latest recommendations,” especially if they don’t fit what was traditionally done. source

A study in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition debunks the myth that high sodium intake causes high blood pressure. They found that blood pressure is affected by a balance of nutrients with sodium, including calcium and potassium. Also, in addition to nutritional imbalances, a diet high in intake of simple carbohydrates may have a negative effect on blood pressure. Whole foods win again!

Is It Gritty?

I’ve had a few people mention on Facebook and Twitter that their experience with Real Salt was a negative one, that it was so gritty, even in bread, that it was like eating sand. “How do you deal with that?” they asked.

It’s simple. I’ve never noticed. ??? This weekend I will admit that perhaps in my pancakes, I did notice a little more crunch than one might expect. Huh! I was surprised. I’ve definitely never noticed it in bread or soup or anything.

Of course, I just conducted a quick experiment, dissolving a generous shake of Real Salt in warm water. And? It doesn’t quite all dissolve. The brown specks are still there, but they are small. Not tooth breakingly present, believe me. I learned something new today!

Great tips for where to buy real salt, how to store it and even different ways to use it! Can't wait to get started with some!

But Healthy Salt Is Expensive!

Sadly, yes it is. You’ll quickly come to understand why the saying is “they’re worth their weight in salt” or how it was used for currency. Unrefined Sea Salt definitely costs more than refined grocery-store-salt.

But it is an important upgrade we are willing to make for the sake of our family and our health.

So how do you save money on ordering salt?

1. Order your salt in bulk.

Salt won’t spoil. If you keep it in a glass container – especially keeping out the humidity – it is shelf stable for years. I typically store my salt in glass canning jars that I picked up from my grocery store.

You can easily save several dollars-per-pound ordering in bulk. Don’t think you’ll go through 5, 10 or 25 lbs.? Order with a friend.

2. Keep an eye out for sales and discounts.

  • Redmond Real Salt offers a discount code just for KS readers. Get 15% off your purchase by heading to the Redmond Store and enter the code “Kitchenstewardship.” (NOTE: This code only works on Redmond’s page.)
  • The popular natural foods co-op Azure Standard regularly runs sales in addition to their wholesale prices. Keep in mind that you have to join the co-op drop in order to order. There is no cost to join, but you have to make sure they deliver to your area first.

Bottom line: shop around a little every time you order salt.

3. Use the right grind for the right task.

You can buy salt in different types of grinds. Fine grind is like the table salt you’re used to pouring out of a shaker – and it’s more expensive because someone has already taken the effort to get it to such a tiny size. Coarse grind looks like little rocks.

You don’t have to use a fine grind in 100% of your cooking, by the way. I grew up only seeing fine salt being used, so it took me awhile to break into a new rhythm.

  • Use FINE grind on the table if you don’t want to have to purchase a salt grinder. I guess you could straight up use coarse grind on the table, but those would be some serious chunks on your green beans.
  • Use FINE grind in drier applications, like baked items. Though some people use coarse grind in their baking, too. Really, it’s a preference thing. If you’re worried about the salt not being evenly distributed, dissolve it in the liquid in the recipe first.
  • Use COARSE grind whenever you make chicken broth.
  • Use COARSE grind whenever you make a more liquidy or saucey dish, like spaghetti sauce, Homestyle Chicken Casserole, chili, soup, etc.

11 practical real salt tips

4. Store your salt in a jar – and rubber band a measuring spoon to the side.

I’m embarrassed to tell you how much salt I have accidently wasted (in my early years of cooking) because I poured it out of a container. Please, don’t keep it in the original packaging. Even if you use Morton’s salt (with the round cardboard container), PLEASE put it in a jar. This tip will save you from unwanted oopsies!

  • I use a repurposed jelly jar and keep a rubber band around it. Since I’m always grabbing my salt jar for adding to dishes, I permanently keep a 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon attached to the jar.
  • Since you only use the measuring spoon for salt, you don’t have to wash it each time – remember, salt is already a natural cleaning agent for things like cast iron!

5. Keep unrefined salt on the table where you will use it.

This might seem like a no-brainer. But if you only keep your unrefined salt in the cupboard – and not on the table – you won’t remember to use it.

  • The fine grind of Redmond Real Salt can pour out of a regular salt shaker with no problem.
  • Because Celtic Salt has a high brine/moisture content, the fine grind doesn’t pour out of a traditional salt shaker so easily. I repurposed a cinnamon spice jar with slightly larger holes in the pour spout to make it flow better. Sometimes the salt clumps together, so we just give it a good whack.

Granted, you can also save half the cost of your salt and use a coarse grind with a ceramic grinder. But with having little kids at home, I really don’t want to hassle with using a ceramic salt grinder on the table for dinner.

6. Make sure you are getting enough salt in your diet.

If you find that you aren’t getting enough salt in your diet (which is entirely possible if you make everything from scratch and rarely salt your dishes), try adding a pinch or two to your glass of water.

If you drink filtered water – especially Reverse Osmosis (RO) water – many of the nutrients naturally found in water are stripped out during the filtering process. (source) That doesn’t mean filtered water is bad!! It just means you may need to add a few granules of salt to ensure you’re getting enough healthy minerals in your diet.

Did you know there are over 60+ essential trace minerals in salt? That’s pretty impressive.

7. Commit to only buying coarse salt.

The larger grinds of salt are a lot less expensive — like half the price of fine grinds!!

Buy a one-time purchase of a ceramic grinder and then purchase the coarse grinds for cheaper. Just please, PLEASE make sure you get a CERAMIC grinder. Anything else will rust.

8. Don’t worry if your salt becomes “clumpy.”

There is no anti-caking agent in good-quality unrefined sea salt. In fact, you may find that the Celtic Sea Salt almost seems wet! No, there’s nothing wrong with it.

  • NEVER hold your salt shaker over a warm pot. Even if you can’t see steam, the warm moisture from the air will make your salt clump together. That’s why I keep my salt in a jar with a measuring spoon handy (Tip #4).
  • If you do feel that your salt becomes unmanageably clumpy, you can spread your salt on a sheet and dehydrate it for a few hours (or bake below 200*F in your oven – but just watch it!).
  • You can also put a grain or two of rice in your salt shaker to help absorb the moisture.
  • Or just give your salt shaker a good WHACK! with your hand before you shake some out …. which is what we do in our house.

9. Keep some salt in a portable container to take with you when you travel.

I can’t tell you how often I’ve been traveling and find myself wishing for my salt back home. When I’m smart I keep a tiny travel container of salt with my cooler for portable lunches or long trips.

  • I also tuck some salt into my traveling first aid kit (which I use when I feel myself getting adrenally fatigued while traveling, as I mentioned earlier in this post).

11 practical real salt tips

10. Save the excess salt when you make popcorn.

We love popcorn in our house. We make a stovetop recipe that is super easy.

However, I started to notice that there was always a bit of salt in the bottom of the bowl from tossing the popcorn. So I started saving the excess salt in it’s own popcorn jar to reuse – which works especially since popcorn is our go-to snack.

Oh – and don’t forget to label your jar.

11. Use salt as a detox agent.

If you find yourself under the weather, treat yourself to a warm bath using bath salts (like these from Redmond Real Salt). Sometimes we use a cup of Epsom Salt in a pinch, though epsom salt is NOT the same thing as unrefined bath sea salts. Unrefined bath sea salt has 50+ trace minerals.

Redmond explains more on their website:

Toxins are released from the body into the bath water through osmosis, while trace minerals from the sea salt are absorbed through the skin.

Redmond recommends using 1/2 cup of bath salts in your bath to “draw out toxins and remineralize the body.”

Some spa experts suggest using up to two cups of natural mineral salt per bath and soaking for 30 minutes. For maximum effect, the salt concentration has to be at least the same as the one of your body fluids (approximately 1%) to activate the osmotic exchange ratio. The formula for a 1% solution is 1.28 ounces of salt per gallon of water. Since a full tub normally takes from 27 – 32 gallons of water, 2.5 pounds of natural salt is required. (source)

{Remember, you only need to do the 2.5# super soak if you’re really gunning for the most effective detox. Start with 1/2 a cup and see how it works for you.}

You can even find Halotherapy (salt therapy) offices popping up around the nation.

  • These are literally rooms of salt with a specified salt content, heat level, and humidity control. There is evidence that sitting in a room of salt can help detox your body and improve your ability to breathe, which is great for those with bronchial issues. (source)
  • We have a salt room near our home and whenever we get a funk that we can’t kick, we like to visit. I’m always AMAZED how much better everyone looks and feels afterwards.
What salt do you use? Which one sounds the most practical to you for a switcheroo this week?
real salt

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60 thoughts on “Does Healthy Sea Salt Really Exist?”

  1. Katie, interesting article. Thanks! You link an article about “Iodine and Real Salt” but that “page does not exist” any longer. My mom was another one worried about switching because of the iodine added.

  2. Katie, I want to thank you for sharing so freely your research with all of us without a “copyright” at the bottom. It makes it so easy for me to copy-paste and share with my good friends and family without worrying about “infringements”. I really, really appreciate it. 🙂

  3. I just bought a couple pounds of Real Salt and we’re noticing the grittiness everywhere. I made bread with it and it was gritty! Pretty much everything I use it on, there’s at least one bite that has crunch to it. I find it rather unnervering. I’m not sure what I’m going to do. My husband has asked that I not use it so much (or at all!!).

    1. Beth,
      Huh. That is strange, but you’re definitely not the only one to notice. If it’s dissolved in something hot like soup is the crunch a problem? That is a bit unnerving in bread, I don’t blame you for being hesitant! 🙂 Katie

    2. Beth,
      Do you live in a humid climate? When I was living in Central America we ALWAYS has plain white rice mixed in with the salt in the salt shakers to absorb the humidity. The rice stayed in the shaker and the salt shook out.

      I’ve been using Real Salt for a while and have never had that problem. I have never had to use rice mixed in where we live now but it’s a problem in really humid places.

      Just a thought!
      (another Beth!)

    3. Brenda Pawloski

      Beth, I am glad I am not the only one. Our 26 oz. bag of RealSalt is out of the kitchen because it made every thing I used it in feel as though I were adding pinches of beach sand! I do not know how people tolerate this. I feel duped but at least it is for just a little money. I would be glad to mail this 26 oz. pouch of gritty salt to anyone who wants it. It is not a clumping issue, it is a problem with insoluble particles of silica in an unacceptable amount.

  4. Sorry if I missed this, but if using a mill or grinder, would it have to have ceramic mill parts on just the Celtic Salt, or is this true for all three? Thanks!

    1. Cameo,
      The Real Salt doesn’t need grinding, and I guess I’m not sure on Himalayan. Sorry! 🙂 katie

  5. I’ve been buying sea salt (both in bulk and in a container) at Whole Foods, and I’m a little confused because it clearly says on the packaging that it’s “unrefined,” but it’s also definitely white. Are there different levels of refinement? Or are they defining “unrefined” differently?

    1. Charissa,
      Hmmm…I would contact the company on that one and ask about the mineral content, or if you can see the nutritional analysis, it will have more than just sodium and chloride. Hope that helps! 🙂 Katie

      1. All white sea salts are not necessarily refined. On the Savoryspiceshop.com website, check out the Brittany Fleur de Sel, meaning the “flower of salt,” & the Portuguese Flor de Sal, which is even whiter. They describe how the salt is harvested. Fascinating.

  6. Katie,

    I tagged you for a meme and a blog award here:

    http://milkforthemorningcake.blogspot.com/2011/03/few-things-you-didnt-know-about-me-and.html

    It’s just a silly little meme, but I had quite a bit of fun with it. Whether you choose to take it on or not, you have a fantastic blog here! Thanks for the resource and forum for discussion it provides.

    Naomi x x x

  7. I’ve got some ‘sea salt’ (the processed white kind!) I’ve been trying to use up, but have a shaker of Real Salt that I love. And I’ve never noticed a gritty-ness about it, either!

    Thanks for the breakdown on the different types of salt!

  8. I have been using white sea salt and even the Morton Iodized Kosher salt my husband bought a year ago (a giant box! I felt like I had to use it, but maybe I’ll just use it to salt our front walkway instead…). After your post last week I did a little research, though I still have more to do. From a cursory glance, it seems like the cheapest option is $.50 per ounce to buy salt in bulk at Whole Foods, unless you’re buying a heckuva lot. I find it surprising that WF would be the cheapest option, but maybe my calculations are off as I am entering my third trimester of pregnancy tomorrow. 🙂
    Anyhow, thanks for the info and since you’ve set a mission I’ll add it to my list for this week.

  9. Heather Ledeboer

    Thank you for this info, I really had no idea there were other options out there besides the white sea salt that I get at Costco! Azure seems to have these options on their website at good prices so I am going to consider getting some Real Salt.

  10. We love RealSalt at our house, although I stopped using it a year ago or so because of the price, and I thought there wasn’t much of a difference. It’s funny you posted this today because last week sometime my husband and I were talking about buying real sea salt. I really like RealSalt, and am planning to buy it the next time I get to my bulk food store!

  11. I’ve been using Redmond’s RealSalt for at least a dozen years now. I buy it through a co-op that orders from Azure Standard. Seems like it was about $62 last time I ordered some but the cost breakdown is effective.
    I use it in everything: baking, canning, brining fish for smoking, scrambled eggs, sprinkled on fruit… literally everything, and only noticed grittiness in my food on a handful of occasions… probably due to a small clump rather than the individual grains.
    It does leave a little clay at the bottom of a pot of water but it’s never really bothered me. I know the goodness of the salt is in the FOOD and anything undissolved is just residue.
    I also buy Hawaiian red sea salt and it is red clay that gives it it’s color. I found a three-pack of salts at Costco that included a pink Himalayan, a white Cyprus flake and a gray, moist, Celtic type. I have also fallen in love with a smoked sea salt that comes in flakes… expensive but worth every extra nickel! I keep my various salts, 2 or 3 at any given time, in little pots by the stove. The bigger coarse salts will go into a soup or stew, the flakes get pinched and sprinkled directly into/onto foods just before serving.
    I believe strongly in the nourishing value of good salt and even though it may SEEM like we are using a lot I know it’s far less and far better quality than if we were eating pre-prepared food.

  12. I don’t ‘salt’ dc’s scrambled eggs in the morning, I ‘add their daily trace minerals.’ 🙂

    We like Real Salt. About the grit that doesn’t dissolve (glad to know it’s from the clay) – when I make an electrolyte drink (water, lemon juice, real salt) I swirl it around right before drinking to make sure I don’t miss anything!

  13. I started using Real Salt a couple of years ago after visiting Utah. I use it in everything, including my neti pot and I have never had a problem. My husband has hypertension and he has no problem with this raising his blood pressure. I agree with others who mentioned that the blood pressure issue is likely due to other additives in food. There are various studies out there about sodium raising blood pressure, some agree that it does, others don’t.

    My personal experience as a nurse practitioner has been that if you have high blood pressure, cut out adding salt to your food and stop eating ALL processed food. If your blood pressure goes down, try adding a little sea salt to your food to taste and see what happens to your blood pressure. Most people can tolerate it. And a lot of people have no change in their BP by reducing salt. And honestly, if you’re over the age of 75 and you can’t taste your food without salt, I’d rather you use salt and eat, than lose too much weight because you don’t want to eat stuff that is tasteless! Oh, and if you make it past 90, please feel free to eat whatever you darn well please! Good grief, we are so hung up on food!

    If we would all just go back and eat like our forefathers did, mostly eliminating sugar and artificial anything, we’d all be SO MUCH healthier. Add some walking everyday and you’d see a lot more 90+ folks walking around out there.

    I haven’t seen Real Salt in any of my local grocery stores and have to make a special trip to the health food store for it. I’m going to look into the bulk options many of you have mentioned.

    I’ve been intending to write about salt on my blog. Thanks for the reminder! I’ll link to this article.

  14. I’ve been using Real Salt and just recently started using Celtic sea salt. I don’t notice anything gritty in anything I bake or make. I will also use Kombu in my soups, it’s a nice way to add trace minerals and some salt too. I bought a large amount of Real Salt from Azure Standard. I think they ship everywhere, and their prices are amazing.

  15. Oh, this is so helpful to me! It’s something I’ve been wanting to know about for a long time, but never knew how to really begin the research! I knew the cheap white salt couldn’t be good, and everytime my MIL said “it has iodine, so we need it” I would cringe, but never knew how to respond! So now, I will change our salt habits AND have evidence for a discussion with my (Whom I love and get along with great, btw)!

  16. I haven’t heard of Real Salt but plan to check it out. I was told once at a spice shop that salt is salt, whether iodized or sea salt, so it would have the same effect if a person has high blood pressure, but that with sea salt, one would be able to use less of the sea salt. Also, sea salt does have a lot of minerals in it, but does not contain iodine, which we also need.
    The Real Salt ad really bothers me — having a young child eating a fresh apple with salt on it? Why? A good way to keep selling their product? Getting a young child used to the taste of salt?
    I do use salt — Kosher for soups, etc., a white sea salt (large granules) that I enjoy grinding in my salt grinder, and I have some Himalayan sea salt that I use occasionally, probably because I was told that it is too moist to put in my salt grinder.

    1. I haven’t seen the ad but Real Salt does have iodine in it along with other trace minerals. My mom and I both like salt on granny smith apples, lol… and green mangoes, and jicama with lemon juice, and…

    2. I hear an underlying notion that salt is bad for you and therefore bad for kids but good salt is nourishing!
      My MD and Nurse Practitioner, who have an integrated medicine practice, actually PRESCRIBE RealSalt. Used liberally on/in food and a teaspoon a day mixed in water… to drink! This is for thyroid/adrenal health and they have not seen a correlation between the salt consumption and high blood pressure in their patients, including me.
      I love it on apples too, especially with a little cinnamon. Melon, tomato, pineapple and avocado are other fruits that are made more luscious with a little salt. I find it really brings out the natural sweetness and it’s all I season my sweet potatoes with anymore… no sweetener needed.

      1. Bebe, if you’re hearing an underlying notion that salt is bad for you, but good salt is nourishing, I’m wondering where this notion is coming from. It seems to me this notion is the theme of both of Katie’s blogs on salt, as well as your own comments.

    3. Yes, Anne, Real Salt does have iodine. You’d appreciate the information in Friday’s post right here: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2011/03/04/food-for-thought-is-there-such-thing-as-healthy-salt/

      I go over how much iodine and how we really ought to be getting our iodine anyway. Table salt and refined sea salt are equal, yes, but this salt really is different. I understand not everyone puts salt on their apples, but really, I defer to Bebe there who said it very well: if we can stop thinking of salt as hazardous, a little here and there becomes a good thing.
      Hope that clears some things up! 🙂 Katie

  17. I love Celtic Sea Salt. I’m not sure how competitive their prices are, but I buy from www.selinanaturally.com. They have a nice selection and very good service.

    1. Also they have a chart comparing the different types of sea salt at http://www.selinanaturally.com/PDF/compare.pdf

  18. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    Here, we can buy ground Himalayan sea salt in bulk at our local health food store. It is around $4/lb. But, they do the work for you, if you don’t want to worry about having a grinder. When I did buy it in chunks, I often would grind a bunch at once in my spice grinder and keep it in a little bag for when I needed it. It worked okay! We can also buy a small amount (a few oz.) in its own grinder for $2 at Trader Joe’s, which is not a bad option either.

  19. Thanks so much for the post, Katie. I’ve been using himilayan for a few months now, AND that hubby spotted REAL SALT at our local Amish bulk foods store- 4.11 for two pounds! I was pumped!

  20. There’s no need to run out of this salt. I bought a 10 pound pail of Real Salt from Redmond’s (as you ave pictured) for $39.00, which included the P&H. I have enough salt to share and to run me for a couple years or more. It is well worth the initial outlay in cost when you consider how much it is to buy in the stores. I got my salt for $3.90 per pound. I was paying $3.89 for a 9.6 ounce bottle, so for one penny more I am getting 6.4 ounces more.
    If the cost is too pricey, then get family to go in with you and divide the cost.
    I have switched out all of our salt for Real Salt, except when I am canning ( I use canning salt), and when I want to salt water for eggs or other times when it does not really matter.

  21. Teri @ Sustainability: How sustainable can we be?

    HI 🙂 We have switched to kosher salt here at our house and really like it allot. I tried other salts and found i could not grind them in my morta and pestle 🙁 i had heard of pepper grinders but never a salt one! lol. So I use the natural salts in soups or dissolve it first where possible but we now pretty much use kosher salt…don’t ask me what makes it kosher but it tastes much better and the food results are much better as well.

    1. Teri,
      Kosher salt is more about the size and sometimes the actual “kosher-ness” of the salt according to a Jewish rabbi. However, it doesn’t have any more minerals or health benefits than table salt, as far as I know. You might like these unrefined salts if you like the coarse grain of kosher anyway! Enjoy! 🙂 Katie

  22. The extra little bits of Real Salt that don’t dissolve into your food are little particles of clay from the clay deposit that’s on top of the salt deposit there. They’re harmless, just a little unnerving sometimes. Rather than uber-process the salt, they just leave it as is. 😀 (I was doing some research on it a while ago and came across this issue as well)

  23. We use Real Salt for just about everything, but I can’t bring myself to use it for salting pasta water or beans where I know most of it will be drained away! If I started buying it in 25 lb bags, maybe I wouldn’t feel quite so guilty…

    1. Buy it in the big bag and know it is flavoring your potatoes and pasta AND nourishing your bodies. I use it with wild abandon!
      But wait to salt your beans until they’re almost done… the beans are more tender that way.

  24. I usually use kosher salt to cook/bake with etc. We use white mortons sea salt at the table for grinding, and I have a small bag of pink himilayan salt that I grind with a mortar and pestle for some of my foods. I am still researching local options for some sea salts that are cheaper than the pink salt, and hope I can find something before we run out of white sea salt for the grinder. The himilayan salt is tasty, but we can’t afford it as a main table salt unless I can find somewhere cheaper, as I am paying 12 bucks a pound for it atm.

  25. Emily @ Random Recycling

    I’m curious to see if my local stores carry Real Salt, I’ve never noticed it. Totally agree with finding granulated salt, I need to be able to pour it in one handed without having to grind it fresh.

  26. I’ve been using Real Salt and have noticed that grittiness you mention. Sometimes it hits my teeth just right so as to be highly unpleasant. I find it particularly noticeable in my soup and sauerkraut. (I’m on GAPS so I eat A LOT of soup and sauerkraut!) I’m thinking of switching the salt that I use for these things, which is kind of sad because Real Salt is the best price I’ve found for high quality salt.

    1. Meghan,
      You might have some luck flavoring soup with kelp/kombu, which has natural sea salt as well. I am amazed the salt doesn’t dissolve in the soup, what a bummer! 🙂 katie

  27. I use Maldon Sea Salt flakes – you can crush them between your fingers.

    I also love Fleur de Sel, the grey French sea salt and pink Himalayan salt – although you do need a pestle and mortar on hand to grind it!

    We eat lots of nuts, so salt seems to disappear a lot faster than it did before I started soaking and dehydrating my nuts.

    I love telling people that salt is probably not what’s putting their blood pressure up – it’s the type of salt and the other refined foods in their diet!

    x x x

  28. I love himalayan pink salt. I put it on my eggs and I am in heaven. If it seems a little crunchy I just put it in the mortar and pestle. Its’ fine.

  29. Thanks for the info. I unfortunately recently bought the Sea Salt that is refined (thinking I was making a great healthier choice). I will have to keep my eye out for the real deal now that I have this info!

  30. I normally do use white sea salt. I’ll be looking for these products at my local natural foods store and making a change. Perhaps I’ll mix the products at first (since I just purchased salt recently), and ease into the change… 🙂 Thanks for the post, I always learn something new!

    1. Dawn,
      You know, I do keep the white sea salt on hand for popcorn, because it’s finer, and for adding to water to boil eggs and potatoes and such, b/c I don’t think we’re consuming much of it. That might help you use it up differently than the Real Salt or whatever you choose. 🙂 Katie

  31. I use Maine sea salt from http://maineseasalt.com . I found it up at the Common Ground Fair. I’ve got other sea salts here, but for everyday table use that’s the one I turn to.

  32. I’m just looking for tips to store bulk salt without it turning into a brick. Anyone have the solution?

    1. Lisa,
      I wonder if those little bears for brown sugar would do anything helpful. ?? I’ll try to remember to check w/my contact at Real Salt; they love their product so much, I have a feeling they’ll have the solution for you! 😉 Katie

      1. I grew up in Central America and we ALWAYS had rice in our salt shakers at the table because of the high humidity. It stays in the shaker when you shake salt on your food. What if you put some rice (uncooked) in one of those tea balls and put it in your salt bag? Just a thought…

    2. Haha… I use RealSalt and buy it in the 25 lb. bag so mine turns into a brick too. I just drop it on the garage (concrete) floor and voila!, it pours again. Of course if they switch to a paper bag that would probably be a bad idea but for now, in the sturdy plastic bag, it works just fine.
      In the house I store my salt in a half gallon plastic jar and I just give it a good shake to break it up enough to refill serving containers.

  33. I use celtic seat salt – LOVE the taste, use the coarse ground in much stuff, have a grinder as well for the kids and when I just need a little, have some real salt too bought because it was so fine for baking and such 😉

  34. Adrienne @ Whole New Mom.com

    I use RealSalt and have for years! We love it! I even have a small plastic salt shaker in my purse at all times so that I don’t have to use regular table salt when I eat food at a friend’s house or on the road. I have never had a problem with feeling that it is gritty in anything.

    We purchase ours through Country Life Natural Foods in large 25 pound bags and it is about $50 that way. I even bought some ahead as salt will not spoil and prices on everything are expected to be climbing.

    I think RealSalt is a very user friendly salt and though more expensive than regular salt, it is well worth it to get away from the processing and chemicals of regular table salt.

  35. I use finely ground Celtic sea salt-it’s very similar in texture to table salt, but it’s full of nutrients I love the taste of it.

    And I just realized you’re in West Michigan? I’m in the GR/Walker area 🙂

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