Sunday, November 15, 2020

Should you switch to pink salt or sea salt?

Everyone has a salt shaker in their home.  For years this shaker was filled with Morton’s salt.  Everyone used Morton’s salt.  Then sea salt seemed to be popular.  Now the rage seems to be “pink salt”.  It has been around for a while. Apparently Trader Joe’s started selling pink salt in 2009.  If you read the label, most pink salt seems to branded as coming from the Himalayas in Pakistan.  However, one source said it comes from just south of the actual Himalayas in Pakistan.  There are lots of health claims for using sea salt and pink salt in place of Morton’s salt.  What salt should people use? 

What is the benefit of using Morton’s Salt?

One reason to use Morton’s salt is to get enough iodine. If you look at a package of Morton’s salt you will see the words: “Iodized salt.  This salt supplies iodide, a necessary nutrient.”   Why is iodine added to Morton’s salt?  Someone asked the Mayo Clinic, “I rarely use salt anymore when cooking.  Instead, I like to use sea salt.  But I’ve noticed a lot of sea salts don’t contain iodine.  Do I need iodized salt, or are there other sources of iodine other than salt that are likely to give me all the iodine I need?” 

Great question.  And how did the Mayo Clinic answer this question?  “Answer:  For most people, iodized salt is probably the easiest way to maintain sufficient iodine intake.”  

Why do we need iodine?

As the Mayo Clinic notes, we need iodine for proper functioning of our thyroid.  Our thyroid gland produces important hormones.  Without enough iodine we can get a condition called goiter or have low levels of thyroid hormones which is termed hypothyroidism.  Thyroid hormones control the body’s metabolism and thyroid hormones are needed for proper bone and brain development during pregnancy and infancy.  There is actually an organization called the American Thyroid Association.  This organization notes, our bodies can’t make iodine, we must get iodine from food.  At one time it was common for people around the Great Lakes region of the U.S., around Appalachia, and other areas to get iodine deficiency.  To prevent this iodine deficiency, in the 1920’s, iodized salt was sold in the U.S.  

Iodine is added to this salt.

How much iodine is in Sea Salt?

I just looked at the bottle of Morton’s Sea Salt we have in our cupboard.  The label reads: “This salt does not supply iodide, a necessary nutrient.”  According to Livestrong, sea salt does not contain iodine.  Livestrong recommends that people who use seal salt in place of iodized salt, need to add other sources of iodine to their diet.  This wouldn’t really be that easy to do on a regular basis as not many people eat kelp, nori, or wild cod routinely.  There is some iodine in eggs and shrimp.    

No iodine is added to this salt. 

How much iodine is in pink salt?

Pink salt is interesting as it is not as processed as other salts.  Thus, some minerals remain in pink salt such as “trace amounts of the minerals calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron”.  Why is pink salt the color pink?  Because it has some trace amounts of iron in it.  But, like sea salt, iodine is not added to pink salt.

Iodine is not added to pink salt.

What salt to use?

I like to be sure I get my iodine.  But I also like to use sea salt.  As a compromise, we use iodized salt for cooking and often at the table.  But we also have sea salt at the table as some foods just seem to taste better with some sea salt.  Livestrong notes that one can not only get some iodine from seaweed and saltwater fish but also some from cheese, cow’s milk (not almond milk), yogurt made from cow’s milk as well as eggs which were noted earlier.  For extra insurance, I take a multivitamin/mineral supplement that has iodine in it.  Livestrong recommends that if you are replacing iodized salt with sea salt,you need to be getting iodine from other sources. 

What salt are you using? 

Sources:  selling , Mayo Clinic , hormones,   American Thyroid Association , 1920’s , sea salt , minerals, Livestrong Image Sources:  iodized salt , Morton’s sea salt , pink salt


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