- Iodized Table Salt: This is the most common form of salt found in most kitchens. The iodine can help prevent goiters due to iodine deficiency. However, like most salts, table salt is high in sodium. Most Americans get too much salt in their diets, which may lead to conditions such as heart disease.
- Seasoned Salt: This salt is a mixture of table salt and herbs and other flavorings. It is lower in sodium than table salt per teaspoon since the other spices take up some of the volume. Check the label to see if it is iodized.
- Kosher Salt: Kosher salt has bigger granules than table salt, so if it is measured by volume then less is typically used, resulting in a slightly lower sodium content. Be careful though- some kosher salt isn’t iodized so make sure to look for the iodized version or get your daily recommended iodine through dark greens and seafood.
- Sea Salt: Like kosher salt, sea salt may or may not contain iodine. Since it is not as refined as table salt it may contain more trace minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and more.
- Rock Salt: This salt is also called pink salt or Himalayan salt. The pink color of this salt indicates a high level of iron. It also may contain other minerals such as calcium and potassium. Check the label to see if it contains iodine.
- Pickling Salt: Pickling salt is generally used for pickling or fermenting. It has the same nutritional value as table salt, except that it is not iodized.
- Organic Salt: The USDA does not certify any salts as organic. However, several other organizations have started classifying some salts as organic based on water purity, salt bed cleanliness, and appropriate handling of the salt through various other procedures. Organic classification does not change the nutritional value of salt. Some brands may be iodized while others may not be.
- Salt Substitutes: There are many types of salt substitutes. Some contain no sodium, while others contain a reduced amount. Potassium, magnesium, or other minerals are used to replace all or some of the sodium. Check the label for iodine content.
- Lite Salt: Lite salt is a type of salt substitute made of 50% sodium chloride and 50% potassium chloride. This means it contains less sodium than table salt. Check the label for information about iodine content.
- Other Herbs and Spices: While other flavorings are not technically “salt”, they often can serve the same role in your cooking. Since many Americans get too much sodium, switching to other herbs and spices as a replacement for salt is often the best option for your health. Garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, cumin, pepper, oregano, and many other salt-free spices are all great options. Since these do not contain iodine, you will have to ensure you are meeting your iodine recommendations with other sources.
In summary, though there are many different types of salts they all essentially have the same sodium content. Since many Americans get too much sodium in their diets, cutting back on added salt or switching to a salt substitute or other herbs and spices for flavoring is a good idea for many people. Two important nutrients to keep in mind when making the switch are iodine and potassium. Iodine is an essential nutrient, so make sure that if you’re not getting it from salt you’re getting it elsewhere in your diet. Potassium is found in many salt substitutes and in certain types of salt. While this is not a problem for most, it can be a problem for those with certain health conditions like kidney disease so talk to your health care provider before switching to a different type of salt.
Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Salt Works, Livestrong