Sea Salt vs. Table Salt: Which Is Healthier?

Sea Salt vs. Table Salt: Which Is Healthier?

Time for a dash of salt on that sheet pan of roasted veggies. What do you reach for? Pink Himalayan crystal salt? Hawaiian red salt? Black lava salt? Or, good old Morton’s table salt?

Colorful, exotic sea salts are marketed as minimally-processed, healthful alternatives to refined table salt. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Colorful, exotic sea salts are marketed as minimally-processed, healthful alternatives to refined table salt. But since your individual diet and health influences what you need from salt, it’s worth examining the claims and true differences among salts before you choose.

Processing in Sea Salt vs. Table Salt

It’s true that sea salt undergoes less processing than table salt; it’s produced simply by evaporating water from oceans or salinated lakes. Trace minerals like potassium, calcium and magnesium remain in sea salt, altering its texture, flavor and nutritional content in subtle ways.

Table salt, on the other hand, is mined from salt deposits underground. Manufacturers strip the salt of minerals to yield a uniformly white color, grind it to a fine consistency and add an anti-caking agent like calcium silicate. Finally, most table salts contain added iodine to combat iodine deficiency and goiter.

Many consumers gravitate toward sea salt because of its “close-to-nature” status–and its easy to understand why! We know minimal processing benefits our health when it comes to grains, meats and vegetables, so shouldn’t the same be true for salt?

There’s more to consider.

Trace Minerals

The promise of trace minerals in sea salt is alluring, but experts with the American Heart Association note that most minerals in sea salt occur plentifully in other foods. If you eat a varied diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, you likely already consume plenty of potassium, magnesium, calcium and other nutrients.

Sodium Content

By weight, the amount of sodium in sea salt and table salt is roughly equal. That means if you’re trying to keep your sodium intake below the recommended limit of 2,300 milligrams per day, use either type of salt in moderation.

Worthy of note: most sodium we ingest doesn’t come from the salt we add to food, but from packaged and processed food. The most effective change you can make to reduce sodium intake is to eat fewer processed foods and less restaurant fare.

Iodine

Dietary iodine added to table salt—but not sea salt—protects the health of your thyroid, which in turn helps regulate your metabolism, heart rate, nervous system and many more functions.

Certain foods supply iodine naturally, including seaweed, fish, yogurt and eggs. If you eat these foods regularly (especially seaweed!), you may be getting the recommended 150 micrograms of iodine your body needs in a day.

If your diet is low in iodine, however (which is common), choosing iodized table salt might act as a good insurance policy for thyroid health.

So, What Should I Choose?

The salt you choose depends on your tastes, nutritional status and diet. If you are neither pregnant nor breastfeeding and you regularly eat iodine-rich foods, you might choose sea salts for their beautiful array of colors, textures and flavors. A little jar of special salt makes a charming gift and if you enjoy eating foods close to their natural state, sea salt can complement your cooking.

But sea salt, unlike table salt, does not supply iodine and its trace minerals probably have little effect on your health. Most importantly, remember that sea salt contains as much sodium as table salt, so whatever you choose, use just a sprinkle!

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Black Sesame Seeds for Better Digestion and Healthier Bones – NDTV Food

BLACK SESAME SEEDS FOR BETTER DIGESTION AND HEALTHIER BONES

Black Sesame seeds, also known as kala til, are one of oldest condiments known to man. They are highly valued for their oil. “Open Sesame”- the famous phrase from the Arabian Nights symbolizes the distinguishing feature of the sesame seed pod, which bursts open when it reaches maturity.

In Japan, whole seeds are found in servings of mixed greens and baked snacks, and tan and black sesame seed varieties are toasted and used to make gomashio, a dry condiment. You will also find sesame seeds sprinkled over sushi rolls. Black sesame seeds are also popularly used in Korean cooking to marinate meat and vegetables. Chefs in tempura restaurants mix black sesame seeds with cottonseed oil for deep-frying. Sesame is also known as SimSim in Africa and used is to make various dishes like Wangila which is made with ground black sesame seeds is mostly presented with smoked fish or lobster.

Black sesame seeds and its oil are used widely across India. The seeds are often blended with warm jaggery, sugar, or palm sugar and made into balls that are eaten as a snack. In Manipur, black sesame is used for the preparation of Thoiding and Singju (a kind of salad). Thoiding is prepared with ginger, chilli and vegetables and is served along with the spicy Singju dish. In Assam, black sesame seeds are used to make Til Pitha and tilor laru (sesame seed sweet balls) during the festival of Bihu.

According to Dr. Rupali Dutta, Chief Nutritionist, SmartCooky, “Black sesame seeds are a good source of energy due to the high fat content. They contain healthy fats like polyunsaturated fatty acids and Omega-6. They also contain fiber, iron, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.”

Benefits of Black Sesame Seeds

1.Anti-ageing properties: The Chinese believe that the nutrients in black sesame seeds can help in postponing or reversing, certain age-related side effects. As per a study done by Harvard University in 2010, black sesame seeds are rich in vitamin B and iron, and most people who have a vitamin B or iron deficiency show symptoms like hair turning gray, hearing loss and memory loss, all of which are the indicators of ageing.

2. Decreases the risk of cancer: According to Dr.Ronald DePhino, Principal Investigator, M.D.Anderson Cancer Centre, Houston, the sesamin found in sesame seeds is found to protect the liver against the damage caused by free radicals in the body. Also, the seeds are rich in fiber, lignans (cell reinforcements) and phytosterol (phytochemicals), which can protect you against the development of colon cancer.

3. Relief for constipation and indigestion: Dr. Amol Ghosh from N.R.S. Hospial in Kolkata, says, “The black sesame seed can help in curing constipation due to the high fiber content and unsaturated fatty acid content. The oil found in the seed can lubricate your intestines, while the fiber in the seed helps in smooth bowel movements. These seeds also help in clearing up worms in your intestinal tract and improve the digestion process.” Grinding the seeds or soaking them overnight can help make the seeds more digestible.

4. Stabilizes your blood pressure: According to Dr. Sheela Krishnaswamy, Diet, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, “Black sesame seeds are rich in magnesium that helps prevent hypertension. Poly unsaturated fats and the compound sesamin present in sesame oil are known to keep blood pressure levels in check.”

5. For healthier bones: According to Dr. Gargi Sharma, Nutritionist at Aayna Clinic in Delhi, “Osteoporosis is a condition of fragile bones with an increased susceptibility to fracture. Bone mass tends to decrease after the age of 35, and bone loss occurs more rapidly in women after menopause. Black sesame seeds are abundant in calcium and zinc that your bones strong.”

How to use black sesame seeds?

According to Dr. Anju Sood, a Bangalore-based nutritionist, “You can sprinkle these nutrient-rich seeds over your cereals, noodles or rice. You can also mix them with your yogurt or smoothie to give it that nutty flavour. Also, if you soak these seeds overnight it aids in the absorption of calcium and minerals from the seeds, as well as reduces the effects of oxalic acid found in them that can prevent the absorption of nutrients. People who have a weak stomach or a history of kidney stone, should not consume too much of it.”

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