Salt: Important Facts, Health Benefits, and Recipes

Salt is an essential mineral used in cooking and food preservation, known for its distinctive flavor and potential health risks if consumed in excess.

What is Salt?

Salt is an edible mineral substance that humans get from mining (rock salt) or evaporation (including sea salt).  Edible salts come in many varieties, depending on region and method of preparation (rock salt or evaporation). Salt is essential to humans and can offer health benefits when consumed in moderation.

Is Salt Good For You?

Salt is essential to humans, but too much salt may be harmful to heart health.

4 Health Benefits Of Salt

  1. Sodium found in salt helps the body maintain the fluid in the body’s cells 
  2. Sodium found in salt helps the small intestine absorb nutrients
  3. Sodium found in salt helps keep the body hydrated
  4. Table salt is fortified with iodine, which is important for the thyroid to function properly

History, Background, and General Facts about Salt

  • Humans have always had to look to their environments to find salt. Early hunters got enough salt from eating meat, but when humans began to grow food and became agriculturalists, they had to look for salt 
  • The Egyptians were the first to preserve foods using salt and also packed mummies in salt for preservation. 
  • Many foods like hams and gravlax are able to keep for longer periods of time because of salt
  • Salt was historically gathered from lakes during dry seasons, when the salt remained after the water had evaporated
  • Early British towns were established around salt springs. The “wich” suffix in English cities and towns (Middlewich and Norwich) indicated the areas where salt could be found.

What Are The Cuisines That Regularly Include Salt?

Almost every cuisine in the world uses salt.

What Is The Best Way To Store Salt?

The best way to store salt is in a cool, dry place away from heat and sunlight.

What Are The Different Types Of Salt?

Table Salt

  • Most table salt is mined and then the salt is put into water, purified, and re-dehydrated to create a uniform product
  • Table salt typically has iodide added to it

Kosher Salt

  • The texture of kosher salt is light but coarse, dissolves easily, and doesn’t have additives like iodide
  • It is called kosher because the salt is used in making meats kosher

Sea Salt

  • Sea salt comes from evaporated sea water
  • The mineral content of sea salt largely depends on which water source the salt come from

Fleur de Sel

  • Fleur de sel originated off the coast of France and is considered to be the best of the best
  • This salt is harvested off the top of saltwater pools, making it the most pure 
  • It is lower in sodium than table salt, with a higher mineral content and a light, briny flavor
  • The Italian version (Fiore di cervia) is made the same way, but with different water, so it comes out less briny and with fewer minerals. 

Sel Gris (Gray Salt)

  • Sel gris comes from the same salt pans as fleur de sel, but it isn’t from the top of the pool
  • It has fallen lower in the water, so it has more minerals and a gray color

Flake Salt

  • Flake salt (such as Maldon) is harvested from evaporated sea water
  • It is often shaped like pyramids and is expensive, so is used most often as a finishing salt for cheese, salads, or cookies

Himalayan Pink Salt

  • Himalayan pink salt is the purest of all salts and is harvested from the Khewra Salt Mine in the Himalayan Mountains of Pakistan
  • This salt contains all 84 natural minerals found in the human body

Himalayan Black Salt

  • Himalyan black salt is also known as Kala Namak (which means “black salt” in Nepalese)
  • This salt is created by cooking rock salt with charcoal, herbs, seeds, and bark in a furnace for 24 hours
  • It can be added to vegan food to mimic the taste of eggs

Hawaiian Alaea Red Salt

  • Hawaiian red salt is made from sea salt and combined with the red volcanic clay alaea, said to have detoxifying properties
  • It has lower sodium content than normal table salt

Hawaiian Black Lava Salt

  • Hawaiian black lava salt is made from seawater that evaporates in pools near hardened lava flows
  • This sea salt is then mixed with activated charcoal, giving it an earthy flavor and has detoxifying qualities

Cyprus Black Lava Salt

  • Cyprus black lava salt comes from island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea
  • They are pyramid-shaped crystals, formed during natural solar evaporation and can grow to be over a millimeter in size

Flavored Salts

  • Herbs de Provence salt
  • Celery salt
  • Merlot salt
  • Truffle salt

Smoked Salt

  • Smoked salt is created by smoking salt with different varieties of wood for up to two weeks

Pickling Salt

  • Pickling salt is used to pickle vegetables and fruit and is very coarse

Toxicity and Side Effects Of Salt

Too much salt can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease.

Nutritional Facts
1 tsp
Amount per serving
0 g
0 g
0 g
Saturated Fat
0 g
2325.5 mg
0 g
0 g