Sea salt is chemically engineered salt obtained by evaporation from seawater. It’s frequently used for cooking, seasoning, makeup and even for preserving food. Generally, it’s called sea salt, solar salt or just plain salt. While generally considered a “man-made” product, it’s actually created by nature on the sea floor, through a process called mineral evaporation. Mineral evaporation occurs when salt crystals are suspended in a liquid such as seawater; salts are further broken down by physical and chemical action.
Salt minerals – including magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium – are lighter than seawater, which requires a different kind of ionic brine to dissolve them (it’s not the same as ocean acidification, where there is a slow increase in the amount of sodium chloride in the liquid). Manmade industrial salt doesn’t contain any minerals at all. The process of extracting salt from seawater – although it may occur naturally – is not one that’s particularly well understood. As mentioned, there is some controversy as to whether the mineral content is increased in sea salt commercially. But most salt sold commercially contains trace amounts of several important minerals.
One of the most notable salts used in cooking is called sea salt or table salt. It’s made by evaporating seawater and then filtering it through highly evolved sea water – which may have some minerals remaining. Most commercial sea salt contains iodine, a mineral that’s critical to the body for regulating the thyroid gland and other endocrine glands. Iodine is a trace mineral found in higher quantities in seaweed and other marine life. It’s thought that people living near the sea must consume a surprisingly large amount of iodine-rich seawater, and that this high concentration results in iodine deficiency in many parts of the world.
Sea salt has a wide range of defining features, however. Its texture can be coarse (and can even be used to measure temperature) or fine. Its color can range from pale to rich brown, its smell may be unpleasant or pleasant (depending on the concentration of iodine), and its effect on the body can be somewhat neutral or highly ionized.
Many of these defining features of sea salt are closely associated with trace minerals. In fact, many of the trace minerals found in ground salt form necessary elements for human health. The lack of potassium can result in serious problems like hyperuricemia, kidney stones, and arthritis. Similarly, elevated levels of potassium can result in excess acidity, which can contribute to heart disease.
There are two different types of sea salt information that you should be aware of. There is what is generally considered to be “normal” sea salt and then there is the “ultra fine” sea salt. Each type is significantly different in its mineral content, and they both have different effects on the body. By taking the time to learn more about the various all-natural alternatives on the market, you can take control of your own health.
All sea salt is made up of many different elements, which are combined to create a crystal salt. These different elements play important roles in balancing the mineral content of our bodies, but in varying amounts. This makes the mineral content of seawater highly varied, making it vital that people ingest trace amounts of these trace minerals in order to maintain optimal health. However, because of its porous nature, sea salt easily absorbs small traces of heavy metals like lead and other metallic ions, which contribute to elevated levels of microplastics in the body.
On the other hand, coarse sea salt only consists of tiny, fine crystal structures. It has no role in regulating microplastics or other contaminants like lead. For this reason, it is often substituted for coarse salt in most dishes. However, by choosing to use sea salt as opposed to refined salt in your cooking, you will not only be helping to reduce the amount of heavy metals you introduce into your body, but you will also be providing your body with many other healthy benefits.