The Many Colors of Salt

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May 20, 2014 Healthy Eating 0 Comments

Last week I went to the Farmer’s Market and I noticed a new stand. They were selling salt. Lots of beautifully-colored salts. In fact, the man running the salt stand had around 40 different salts! And I’m not talking about the white table salt we all grew up with.

These days, you can find salts from around the world, flavored salts, health-boosting salts, pink salt! Some are used in cooking, some are used as a finishing salt, some you can even serve your food on.

Salt can enhance the flavor of your food and now, with all of the flavored salts, you can even change the flavor of your food.

But what do all the colors mean? Celtic salt looks gray or beige, Hawaiian sea salt looks red or black, the Himalayan salt is a pretty pink, to name a few. Well, the colors are an indication that the salt is unrefined and containing trace minerals. And those trace minerals can have some pretty cool health benefits, unlike traditional table salt that has been refined and robbed of its minerals. The white table salt also usually contains an anti-caking agent to keep it from clumping and may contain a sugar, like dextrose, that keeps the salt from turning yellow (because of the iodine).

So go ahead, try some of these colored salts, with all of their mineral glory. Experiment with various textures and flavors to add some variety to your foods. And in the process, nourish yourself with those trace minerals. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a few new ones that you love!

But just a note before you get too carried away with the awesomeness of salt; it’s important to acknowledge that while an adequate amount of salt is absolutely required to maintain good health, too much salt and sodium is related to heart disease, hypertension and strokes. As with most things, balance is key – too much of anything is not a good thing.

(The Institute of Medicine recommends that healthy adults consume 1500 mg of sodium per day, but if you have specific questions about your health and salt needs, you should talk to your physician.)