Healthy Hollywood: Ask Keri Glassman – What’s The Difference Between Sea Salt & Regular Salt?

Nutritionist Keri Glassman, who regularly shares her expertise on Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live, is answering your nutrition, diet, and health questions.

Want to know which foods to curb sugar cravings? Or, what should you eat before a workout? Ask Keri anything!

Keri will choose one great question a week to be answered Thursday in our Healthy Hollywood column.

To submit questions for Keri, click HERE!

This week’s question — Jane Eckhardt asks, “It feels like everything makes me bloated in the summer especially salty foods. Is there any difference between regular salt and sea salt?”

Keri says…

The Season of Salt

Bloat-free salt sound too good to be true? Well, it is. If you’re at the beach, you smell salt in the air, taste it in water, and sprinkle it on your favorite summer foods. Therefore, it’s no wonder why you want the scoop on which salt is the healthiest. The difference, however, between the two salts has nothing to do with how they make us look in our bathing suits, but rather where they come from, how they are made, and how they taste. Salt from the sea versus traditional table salt seems to be a saucy subject now-a-days, so let’s distinguish between the two so you can choose one that won’t leave a bad taste in your mouth!

Salt Surf or Turf

Sea salt is exactly what it sounds like — salt from the sea. This type of salt goes through the least processing, which is music to my ears and probably why some consider it the “healthier salt.” Sea water is evaporated, leaving just the salt which contains trace amounts of minerals in varying amounts (depending on which ocean it’s pulled from). These different minerals add a variety of flavors to the salt shaker, but also give them a coarse texture. Table salt is dug up from the dirt and, through heavy processing, has all the minerals removed. Then, it’s loaded with additives to prevent the granules from clumping. Iodine is also added to the mix, which is the only mineral not naturally found in sea salt. Iodine is an important mineral stored in the thyroid and controls the release of hormones. Deficiency can lead to weight gain and fatigue, as well as neurological, gastrointestinal, and skin abnormalities.

Salt: A Mineral Supplement?

If you are eating a balanced diet based on whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and seafood (remember those ocean minerals?) you will get adequate amounts of iodine. Trying to justify a salty, snack binge? Iodine is not the answer. The salt in packaged foods is not the iodized kind. One teaspoon of salt is recommended every day as part of a healthy diet, but anymore than that can put you at risk for high blood pressure. If you are looking to choose a better salt, you don’t need me to tell you which to go with. It’s all about your taste preferences and staying within the recommended limits, of course. Some people do report that when it comes to iodized salt, less goes a long way as compared to sea salt. This is probably because of table salt’s smoother, clump-free texture, giving you more salt per teaspoon.

So, here’s your salt solution: For flavor, use a little bit of salt, but stay within the recommended amount. Now that you know the pros and cons of both, take your pick of sea or table. Get adequate amounts of minerals from a whole food diet based on minimum sodium, which is less than 2300 mg, or 1 teaspoon per day.

–Terri MacLeod & Keri Glassman

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