Sea Salt - Essential Health Benefits of Sea Salt
In THis Article
|What Is Sea Salt?|
|Types Of Sea Salt|
|Nutritional Value of Sea Salt|
|Difference between sea salt and table salt|
|Health Benefits of Sea Salt|
|Some Tips For Using Sea Salt|
It’s no secret that eating less processed food is good for your health. And while sea salt is less processed than table salt and contains more nutrients, it may not offer all the health benefits that some marketers want you to believe. Like table salt, sodium makes up a large portion of the nutrients in table salt. Too much sodium from any source may affect your blood pressure and your health.
Salt has been used as a natural flavoring for thousands of years, and it’s so vital to our existence that we’ve even been created with a portion of our tongues designated to taste saltiness. I did a Daniel fast last year and eliminated salt from my diet completely for 10 days, and everything I ate tasted completely bland. During that time, it made me realize how essential salt is to our lives and caused me to spend some extra hours researching all of the many uses and benefits of sea salt.
As I’m sure you’re aware, salt is seen as a very unhealthy substance by many organizations, such as the American Heart Association, and I understand why. I’m not saying you should start shoveling salt into your mouth, but I want to clarify that there is a major difference between processed table salt and real sea salt. A true, unrefined sea salt actually supports the human body in essential ways and can truly be an awesome health promoter.
What Is Sea Salt?
Sea salt, as is quite clear from the name, is salt that is produced by evaporating ocean water or saltwater from lakes. Thus, it contains traces of some essential minerals, depending on which area it has been produced from, which give it a distinct taste and color.
Bay salt and solar salt are also some names given to sea salt.
Since the characteristics of sea salt can change depending on where it is produced, it stands to reason that there are different types of sea salt out there. Let’s take a look at some of them.
From the Himalayas to the Celtic Sea, sea salt is produced in a number of places all around the world.
Here are a few famous varieties:
- Himalayan Sea Salt: If the purest of pure sea salt is what you’re looking for, Himalayan sea salt will do the trick. It is believed that this particular variety dates back to the prehistoric times and contains remnants of the primal sea. This gorgeous pale pink salt contains all the 84 elements found in our body and, therefore, offers a ton of benefits like regulating your blood pressure, supporting your respiratory health, and maintaining the pH balance in your cells.
- Celtic Sea Salt: Celtic sea salt is (obviously) harvested near the Celtic Sea in Brittany, France using an ancient Celtic method. This gray tinted sea salt remains moist to the touch even after being stored for a long time and is beneficial for brain function, electrolyte balance, and regulating blood pressure.
- Flaky Sea Salt: This flaky textured sea salt with thin, flat crystals dissolves really easily and has a saltier taste. However, it’s mineral content is comparatively lower than the other types of sea salts.
- Fleur de Sel: The reason this sea salt has such a pretty name is that it translates to ‘flower of salt’ in French and Portuguese owing to its flower-shaped crystals. Though earlier it was used as a laxative and salve, it is now exclusively used in cooking.
- Hawaiian Sea Salt: Hawaiian sea salt is made by adding red volcanic clay called ‘alae’ to sea salt. This infuses iron oxide into the salt and gives it a red tinge. This is a particularly expensive variety of sea salt and is hard to find outside of Hawaii.
Sea salt derives 82 essential trace nutrients from the mineral treasure trove present in seawater.   These natural minerals are valuable for the healthy functioning of the body. The nutritional wealth of sea salt includes vital minerals like sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, bromide, chloride, iron, copper, and zinc, among other beneficial elements.
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As you can see, sea salt looks like it doesn’t have much going on in the nutrient department except for being exceptionally high in sodium. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sea salt is one of those rare ingredients that houses all 84 essential minerals that are found in the human body. But the exact compositional breakdown of these minerals can vary depending on the original source of seawater that it was produced from.
The major minerals found in sea salt are sodium (of course), potassium, phosphorus, and calcium. Some trace minerals that are usually found in it are iron, iodine, manganese, and zinc.
The main differences between sea salt and table salt are in their taste, texture and processing.
Sea salt is produced through evaporation of ocean water or water from saltwater lakes, usually with little processing. Depending on the water source, this leaves behind certain trace minerals and elements. The minerals add flavor and color to sea salt, which also comes in a variety of coarseness levels.
Table salt is typically mined from underground salt deposits. Table salt is more heavily processed to eliminate minerals and usually contains an additive to prevent clumping. Most table salt also has added iodine, an essential nutrient that helps maintain a healthy thyroid.
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.
- Skin Care
The mineral content in Dead Sea salt has long been appreciated for its rejuvenating effects on the skin. Bathing in a Dead Sea salt solution helps in keeping the skin moisturized and revitalized. Dead Sea salt baths also help in improving the skin barrier function and eliminating the roughness and inflammation on the skin’s surface. Studies have shown that this anti-inflammatory effect is attributed to the presence of a high content of magnesium in these salts.  It also helps in the detoxification of the body by flushing out toxins from the pores, while also aiding in improving blood circulation.
- Relieves Rheumatoid Arthritis
Sea salt has been found to possess anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis. A study conducted in Israel compared the effects of Dead Sea bath salts and regular salt on patients with rheumatoid arthritis. They found that the group that received sea salt bath experienced a higher therapeutic relief in terms of stiffness, walking, hand grip, and joint pains as compared to the control group.
Rich in Trace Minerals
High-quality sea salts typically contain 60 trace minerals. In the case of Himalayan sea salt, the number is said to be 84. Either way, sea salts are a great source of minerals.
It’s become harder and harder to obtain trace minerals from the foods we eat due to the lack of nutrient-rich soil. However, trace minerals are still abundant in our planet’s seas and oceans, from which we get a variety of sea salts.
Sea salt contains fluoride, which is beneficial for promoting dental health.  Fluoride aids in protecting the teeth from acidic damage and prevents the development of caries and cavities. Regular rinsing and gargling with tepid sea salt water help alleviate mouth sores, bleeding gums, ulcers, and the pain of sore throats.
The coarse granular texture of sea salt makes it perfect to be used as an exfoliant. Gently rubbing your skin with sea salt helps remove dead skin cells, improves blood circulation, and promotes skin rejuvenation. And it leaves your skin feeling clean and smooth.
Helps Avoid Dehydration and Balance Fluids
Here’s how sodium works within the body: Essentially, water follows salt, which means if you increase sodium too much, water retention also occurs. At the same time, the opposite is also true: A loss in sodium results in a loss in water, potentially causing dehydration and extreme thirst.
By consuming sea salt daily, you also ensure that you maintain sufficient sodium levels, and this helps balance your sodium-potassium ratios. Sodium and potassium are two electrolytes that work together to ensure that there is proper fluid balance in your body’s cells as well as your blood plasma and extracellular fluid.
Maintain The pH Balance Of Your Body
The magnesium found in Celtic and Himalayan sea salts is a godsend when it comes to maintaining the pH balance in your body. Consume a bittern of Celtic sea salt or a liquid mixture of magnesium chloride and sea salt to reduce excessive acidity in your blood
Research studies have proven that Dead Sea salt solution is also effective in treating rhinosinusitis.The study also concluded that nasal irrigation and sprays done with sea salt showed better symptomatic relief as compared to those made of a hypertonic saline solution. The anti-inflammatory effects of Dead Sea salts make them a natural and healthy alternative to be considered for treating nasal allergies and other respiratory disorders as compared to nasal steroids, which have certain side effects like inflammation that can lead to mucus secretion. The mineral content present in Dead Sea salts helps alleviate swelling and congestion as well.
Proper Brain, Muscle and Nervous System Function
As a provider of sodium, sea salt is not just good for — it’s essential for proper brain, muscle and nervous system function. As I already said, sodium is a regulator of water in your body. It’s also required for the transmission of electrical signals in the body. Why is this so important? Without the proper transmission of electrical signals in the body, so many things can get thrown off.
Without this communication system working as it should, the brain, muscles and nervous systems are especially inclined to suffer. Both too much and too little sodium cause cellular malfunction. So as much as you hear about making sure you don’t get too much salt in your diet, it’s also absolutely just as important to make sure we get enough.
Maintains Electrolyte Balance
Sea salt helps in maintaining a healthy electrolyte balance in the body, which is necessary for maintaining optimum blood composition and circulation, muscular strength, and overall functioning of the body.  Minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium contribute to the electrolytic equilibrium of the body.
Sea salts contain sulfur which helps in cleansing and treating skin conditions like dermatitis and acne scars.
Improves Heart Health And Normalizes Heartbeat
It is said that sea salt can improve your cardiovascular health and regulate heartbeat. This is probably because it contains sodium, chloride, and potassium that work together to conduct nerve impulses and cause muscle contractions. This, in turn, helps maintain a regular heartbeat. However, there is no conclusive scientific evidence to prove this.
Aids Digestion And Weight Loss
When it comes to weight loss, there are a couple of different reasons people think sea salt works. For one, it is said that it regulates the secretion of digestive juices, which prevents build-up in the digestive tract and, thus, helps keep off the weight. However, there is not much evidence for the same. The second, more viable, reason could simply be that it has lower sodium content that aids weight loss.
Regulates Blood Sugar
Seasoning your food with sea salt instead of regular salt can do wonders for your blood sugar levels . Diabetic patients can immensely benefit from this as it could reduce their dependence on insulin medication.
Sea salt has long been known to reduce inflammation and help treat asthma. In fact, it is believed that sprinkling a pinch of sea salt on your tongue after drinking a glass of water is just as effective as using an inhaler. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.
Having enough stomach acid also helps our bodies to absorb vitamins and minerals like calcium, zinc, iron, folate and B12. So consuming a high-quality sea salt regularly can help your body absorb more nutrients from the foods that you eat. This is great news since it’s not only what you eat, but how your body processes what you eat, that gives your body the nutrients it needs on a daily basis.
Relaxes Aching Feet
Soaking your tired feet in a warm sea salt solution helps relax the muscles, and relieve the soreness and pain in your aching feet.
Encourages Restful Sleep
Sea salt baths have a calming and soporific effect, thus helping in inducing profound and rejuvenating sleep. They also help in preventing excess salivation that flows out of the mouth during sleep, keeping your body hydrated.
Relieves Muscle Cramps
Ever wondered why your muscles cramp after a long workout session? It’s because you lose electrolytes (mainly sodium) from your body through sweating. To prevent this deficit from taking place, you need to consume some sea salt (which, as we know, is rich in electrolytes) and fluid solution before you head out. This will help you stay hydrated and prevent your muscles from cramping . You could also soak the affected area in a sea salt bath to relieve stiffness and discomfort.
Prevents Hair Loss
One of the lesser known benefits of sea salt is the stimulation of healthy hair growth. Massaging the scalp with the sea salt aids in an improved circulation of blood and it strengthens the hair follicles.
A sea salt solution helps in relieving puffiness around your tired eyes. A sea salt compress aids in reducing the dark circles and sagging bags under the eyes, while inducing a calming, stress-relieving effect.
Healing & Purifying Properties
The electromagnetic force field that surrounds our body tends to attract negative energies and impurities from the environment. These energies may influence the health and well-being of some people. Baths enriched with sea salts are believed to have purifying qualities as they absorb such energies within themselves and relieve the body of toxins.
- Add sea salt to your dish as you go instead of sprinkling it right at the end. You can do so by dividing the amount of sea salt specified in the recipe in equal portions and adding one portion after adding another ingredient. This will give your dish a more well-rounded flavor.
- Use the ‘three-fingered pinch’ (thumb, pointer finger, middle finger) to add an optimum amount of sea salt to your dish. This amounts to about ¼ to ⅛ of a teaspoon, so there’s no reason to worry that you’re adding too much.
- Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on top of baked sweets like cakes, cookies, or candies to make them taste even better. The sea salt adds to the complexity of the flavor and makes the sweets taste even sweeter. This little tip works wonders in chocolate-flavored sweets.
Why You Need Sodium
Sodium is an essential nutrient. It helps maintain fluid balance, plays an important role in maintaining blood pressure and assists in nutrient transport into your cells. However, you only need about 200 milligrams of sodium a day to get this done. And while sea salt can help you get what you need, a teaspoon contains 2,300 milligrams of sodium, which is the same amount found in the same serving of traditional table salt.
Health Risks of Too Much Sodium
Most Americans get way too much sodium in their diet, about 3,400 milligrams, most of it from processed foods, not the salt shaker. For better health, it’s recommended that you aim to limit sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams or less.
While sodium plays an important role in maintaining blood pressure, too much sodium in your blood may increase blood pressure, and risk of heart attack and stroke. Too much sodium in the blood may also affect the integrity of your blood vessels, whether you have high blood pressure or not. Excess sodium may also be linked to osteoporosis and gastric cancer.
There are no major side effects known to be caused by sea salt. However, if you suffer from high blood pressure, you should avoid consuming too much of any kind of salt, including sea salt.