Heart Health: Which Is Less In Sodium, Rock Salt Or Table Salt?

By Dr Arunachalam Esakkiappan

31 May, 2018


You would know that cutting down your sodium intake can significantly reduce your risk for hypertension and heart disease. The drive to reduce sodium in the diet  leads  many people to search for different options that are lower in sodium than table salt. So, have you ever reflected on whether a certain salt may be a be a better option than the other?

Let’s find out by taking the example of rock salt and table salt!

Rock salt is often obtained either by evaporating sea water or by mining underground deposits. Unrefined rock salt contains more trace minerals compared to table salt.

Table salt is rock salt that's been finely ground, treated with additives and chemicals such as anti-caking agents and is refined to remove impurities. During the purification process,  most of the trace minerals are lost and what is left is sodium chloride. However, the added iodine in table salt plays a pivotal role in supporting your thyroid health to prevent goitre – a disease due to iodine deficiency.

Which is a healthier option?
When it comes to salt, irrespective of type, what you should be concerned about is, its sodium content. This is almost the same in both the types. Too much sodium from any source can raise blood pressure, which in turn can raise our risk of heart attacks, strokes and other health woes. As far as the trace minerals that are lost during purification- it can be made up by eating a variety of natural foods.

To maintain optimal heart health- WHO recommends a salt intake of 5 gm (just less than a teaspoon) for adults. This is less than 2000 mg of sodium in any type of finely ground salt.

Considerations while measuring..
While measuring a teaspoon of salt, it is important to consider how finely it is ground. One teaspoon of rock salt or any coarser salt will weigh lesser than a teaspoon of table salt because, the weight varies based on crystal size and thus would contain lesser amount of sodium.  Yet, you may need to use larger quantities of the coarser variety to match the saltiness of finely ground salt. 

In other words, you can use smaller quantities of table  salt to match the saltiness of rock salt. This is because finely ground salt is packed closer together than coarse salt, so there's more of it in a particular volume.

Salt isn’t the only flavour enhancer though!

Fresh or dried herbs, a splash of vinegar, lemon juice or a homemade marinade can enhance flavours in the same way as salt. Also, many foods have naturally occurring sodium in them so it is best to avoid adding too much of salt while cooking.

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