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What Is Salt Good For?

The average American consumes around 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day, which is well above the recommended limit of 2,300 milligrams per day for most adults. 

High salt intake is associated with numerous health issues, including hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and kidney problems. Fortunately, there are alternatives to traditional table salt (sodium chloride) that can be used to reduce sodium intake while still adding flavor to food.

As we all know salt is a staple in kitchens worldwide, but its reputation is often shrouded in confusion. What is salt good for? What are its health benefits, and are there any downsides? Let's embark on a journey to unravel the mysteries of salt, exploring its diverse types, health benefits, and potential drawbacks.

Types of Salt

Before delving into its health effects, let's differentiate between various types of salt commonly found on grocery store shelves:

Table Salt:

  • This is your everyday, finely ground salt, typically heavily processed to remove impurities and iodized to prevent iodine deficiency.
  • While it's readily available and inexpensive, table salt often contains additives like anti-caking agents, and also lacks most of the useful minerals, which may not be ideal for health-conscious individuals.

Sea Salt:

  • Harvested from evaporated seawater, sea salt comes in various textures and colors, depending on its source and processing.
  • Unlike table salt, sea salt undergoes minimal processing, retaining trace minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium, which contribute to its flavor and potential health benefits.

Himalayan Pink Salt:

  • Mined from ancient sea beds in the Himalayan region, this unrefined salt boasts a distinctive pink hue due to its mineral content.
  • Himalayan pink salt contains minerals like iron, which give it its color, as well as trace elements believed to offer health benefits.

Kosher Salt:

  • Kosher salt, favored by chefs for its large, coarse crystals, is named for its use in koshering meat. 
  • While it lacks the mineral content of sea salt and Himalayan pink salt, kosher salt's larger crystals make it ideal for seasoning meats and for use in certain cooking techniques.

Health Benefits of Salt

This aspect of salt is largely overlooked and it is very important to note. While excessive salt intake has been linked to health issues like hypertension and cardiovascular disease, moderate consumption of high-quality salt can provide several health benefits:

Electrolyte Balance:

  • Salt is essential for maintaining proper electrolyte balance in the body, which is crucial for hydration, nerve function, and muscle contraction. 
  • Ensuring an adequate intake of electrolytes through salt consumption can help prevent dehydration and support optimal physical performance.

Mineral Intake:

  • Unrefined salts like sea salt and Himalayan pink salt contain trace minerals that are often lacking in modern diets. These minerals, including magnesium, potassium, and calcium, play vital roles in various physiological processes. 
  • Incorporating these minerals into your diet through high-quality salt can support bone health, muscle function, and overall well-being.

Flavor Enhancement:

  • Salt enhances the flavor of food, making it more palatable and enjoyable. This can encourage individuals to consume nutrient-rich foods like vegetables and whole grains.
  • Additionally, salt can help balance and accentuate other flavors in dishes, contributing to a more satisfying culinary experience.

Digestive Health:

    • Adequate salt intake supports the production of digestive enzymes, facilitating the breakdown and absorption of nutrients from food.
    • By promoting efficient digestion, salt can help alleviate digestive discomfort and support overall gastrointestinal health.

4 Considerations and Potential Drawbacks

While salt offers several health benefits, it's essential to consider potential drawbacks associated with excessive consumption:

1. Blood Pressure Regulation:

  • High salt intake has been linked to elevated blood pressure levels, increasing the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Individuals with existing hypertension or heart conditions should monitor their salt intake carefully.
  • Limiting salt intake, particularly from processed and packaged foods high in sodium, can help manage blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications.   

2. Water Retention:

  • Consuming excessive salt can lead to water retention, causing bloating and swelling, particularly in individuals sensitive to sodium.
  • Monitoring salt intake and staying hydrated can help mitigate water retention and minimize discomfort associated with bloating and swelling.

3. Kidney Health:

  • Prolonged high salt intake may strain the kidneys, potentially leading to kidney stones and decreased kidney function over time.
  • Individuals with kidney conditions or a history of kidney stones should consult with a healthcare professional to determine an appropriate level of salt intake for their specific needs.

4. Hidden Sources of Salt:

  • Many processed and packaged foods contain high levels of hidden salt, the unhealthier type, contributing to daily sodium intake. Reading food labels and choosing minimally processed options can help reduce overall salt consumption.
  • By being mindful of hidden sources of salt and opting for whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible, individuals can better control their salt intake and support their health.


In summary, salt, when consumed in moderation and from high-quality sources, can offer several health benefits, including electrolyte balance, mineral intake, and flavor enhancement. However, excessive salt intake can have adverse effects on health, emphasizing the importance of moderation and mindful consumption. 

Be sure to consider moving to the healthier types of salt, by understanding the different types of salt available and their potential impacts on health, we can make informed choices to further support our well-being while enjoying the flavors of our favorite dishes.

Leo A Eliades, a qualified medical scientist, is passionate about natural health and education. As the founder of BoostCeuticals since 2012, he's an authority on clean label, pure, natural and vegan supplements, empowering individuals to feel better every day. Explore insights at


Harvard Health Publishing - Salt and your health

Mayo Clinic - Sodium: How to tame your salt habit now

Shaking the Salt Habit to Lower High Blood Pressure

BoostCeuticals - Your Trusted Partner in Health and Wellness

This blog post is proudly presented by BoostCeuticals, your trusted source for clean label vegan supplements that promote pure and natural wellness. BoostCeuticals take pride in providing meticulously crafted, silica and stearate-free supplements without any potentially harmful additives to boost your well-being. Explore their products for your unique health journey.

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