ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Food and Cooking»
  • Cooking Ingredients

Salt - An Ingredient Used Everyday

Updated on September 17, 2014

Speaking of Salt

Salt gets such a bad rap in regards to health. When used in moderation, unless you are on a totally salt free diet, salt does bring out the natural flavors in many foods.

Our bodies need salt for our muscles, our hearts, to think and for our memory.

The three basic types of salt are table, sea salt, and rock salt.

Salt And Your Health

Salt that is mined and unrefined contains magnesium and potassium, which the body needs to help metabolize the sodium.

The main ingredient in salt is sodium chloride, which in small amounts is essential for all animals.

Iodine was added to table salt originally to prevent goiters. Iodine is needed in order to keep your thyroid in good working condition.

If one does not get enough iodine when pregnant the brain development in the fetus can be compromised. Iodine supplements can be taken if table salt is not being used.

Too much or too little salt in ones diet can cause muscle cramps, dizziness, problems in the nervous system and even death.


Salt and Health Problems

There are many health problems that can be linked to overuse of salt such as stoke, high blood pressure, ulcers, indigestion problems just to name a few.

In North America the recommended amount of sodium per day should not exceed 2300 milligrams. Most people consume a much higher amount of sodium than what is recommended for a well-balanced healthy diet.

In ΒΌ teaspoon of table salt there is 570 milligrams of sodium

Salt Crystals
Salt Crystals | Source
Rock salt from the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Malopolskie, Poland
Rock salt from the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Malopolskie, Poland | Source

Sea Salt, Table, and Rock Salt

Sea Salt and table salt both have sodium and chloride.

The only real difference between the two is in the taste and texture.

Sea salt is from evaporated seawater where as table salt is mined from underground salt deposits.

There is a small amount of iodine in sea salt however it is not enough for what your body needs. If all you use is sea salt, you can eat fish once a week to make sure you are getting the required amount of iodine in your diet.

Rock salt is mainly used industrially that is sold in very large bags for melting ice on roads during the winter. This salt is not normally used in cooking, as it takes too long to dissolve, as it is in very large crystals.

The many colors and textures of salt

Salt comes in many colors, and textures. Coarse, fine and Fleur de Sel are all types of salt just with different crystal forms.

More Salts

Other salts include:

  • kosher salt
  • bamboo salt
  • pickling salt
  • black salt
  • Hawaiian salt
  • finishing salt
  • French sea salt
  • grey salt
  • grinder salt
  • Italian sea salt
  • organic salt
  • smoked sea salt

Salt and Cooking Tips

  • When cooking meat you should not salt it before it has started to cook. Why? Salt will make the meat lose its juices causing it to become dry and less tasty.
  • To obtain a nice golden color to pan fried potatoes cook them with salt.
  • Adding salt to the water while cooking cauliflower will keep it from discoloring.
  • Salted water when cooking vegetables prevents the vegetables mineral salts from escaping.
  • If strawberries are not quite ripe add a few grains of salt.
  • Salt shaken on cucumbers will make them more digestible.
  • Salt added to water while boiling eggs will make them easier to peel.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      ttmuchmin, Nice to meet you, and thank you.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      2patricias, Processed foods do contain so much salt. Sometimes I'm always looking at the contents of food before I buy it and most of the the time I'll read a package or something that is canned and end up putting it back on the shelf.

      Thank you so much for the vote and the tweet.

    • toomuchmint profile image

      toomuchmint 5 years ago

      lol... I caught 2patricias tweet and had to check out the hub. The sampler is such a great gift idea. I love it. Voted up and useful.

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 5 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Very interesting, as I never knew the nutritional difference between table salt and sea salt. My sister-in-law lives on the coast in Portugal, where there are large salt flats and sea salt is produced commercially. I use sea salt on many dishes - I think it has a slightly different taste to table salt.

      I use salt very sparingly, because there is (in my opinion) too much salt added to many packaged foods - including bread.

      I've voted this Up - and am tweeting it.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Binaya, No I did not know that. Thanks for telling me that.

    • profile image

      Binaya.Ghimire 6 years ago

      Informative and very useful hub. By the way do you know, Hindus abandon salt in their food during the 13 days of mourning.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      howcurecancer, You are welcome and thanks for reading.

    • howcurecancer profile image

      Elena@LessIsHealthy 6 years ago

      I had no idea about the strawberries and salt. Thanks for the tips.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Baker Haley

      Salt for lettuce leaves, I have not heard of this before. Thanks for the tip and for sharing.

    • Baker Haley profile image

      Baker Haley 6 years ago from A hot oven

      This is such an informative hub! Lots of great info! Using salt when cooking cauliflower is a great tip! My mother used to always lightly salt washed lettuce leaves to keep them from getting soggy and wilting.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      KKG Yes one does need to watch salt intake especially with high blood pressure.

      Gordon Overuse of many things can be dangerous. Thanks for your comments.

      tony I think we should all follow the guidelines.

      aslanlight I usually use fresh garlic, or granulated and powdered garlic as well as the himalayan garlic salt. Celery salt and onion salt I used to use but not so much lately.

    • aslanlight profile image

      aslanlight 6 years ago from England

      Table salt's usually refined SEA salt. I point it out becuase people think that if they use sea salt it must be good, but it isn't if it's not unrefined. It's usually brownish, yellowy or greyish in colour if it's the good stuff.

      I haven't tried garlic salt but celery salt and onion salt are lovely!

    • tonymead60 profile image

      Tony Mead 6 years ago from Yorkshire


      useful info. there are lots of guidelines for salt usage, particularly for folks with heart problems

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image

      Gordon Hamilton 6 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Very important subject and very useful information. Too many people do not realise the dangers of salt and how harmful it can be.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Just Ask Susan, I too avoid using a lot of salt because of high blood pressure. However, as you said, the body needs a certain amount of alt to run properly. I make sure I use it on things I can't bear to eat without it such as eggs and chicken. Great information. Rated up and useful.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      aslanlight yes you correct table salt is refined. I found himalayan garlic salt at my local health food store and I use that quite frequently. Thanks for all your comments.

    • aslanlight profile image

      aslanlight 6 years ago from England

      Hummm that's a lot of useful information. My doctor ran blood tests concerning ME/CFS and the only thing he could find wrong is that I had low sodium levels. I've since found that people with the condition need more salt.

      I use unrefined sea salt and himalayan rock salt and I'm sure the minerals are helping.

      I read that most table salt is refined sea salt. Whereever it's from I won't be using it again.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      dr sen yes there is low sodium and crystal salt. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • ask dr sen profile image

      ask dr sen 6 years ago from Motherdove cliniq ,Annasalai, Chennai.86 INDIA

      there is something called low sodium salt.

      there is crystal salt

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Sue My blood pressure used to be low not sure lately..Salt in beer is great I do that all the time when I drink draft.

      Thanks for your comments.

    • sueroy333 profile image

      Susan Mills 6 years ago from Indiana

      This was a very informative and easy to follow hub! I always salt my meat before I cook it.. I won't now!

      My husband salts everything.. pizza, beer, even bacon! He still has low blood pressure, some people are lucky that way!

      Up and useful!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Wayne that's pretty funny :) Thanks for popping bye and for your comments.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      Nicely written and very informative, wife says that I would put salt on a new born's rear! LOL! WB

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      dahoglund Thanks for your comments.

      Merlin Staple away :)

      L.L. Yes moderation is best with just about everything we consume.

      fastfreda, anyl and chamilj Thank you so much and for your comments.

      RH I used to salt everything afterwards myself then after watching a few cooking shows and adding it while cooking I found my food not needing to be salted afterwards. Thanks for your comments.

      always exploring I will have to try your mouthwash sounds like a great idea thanks.

      Doc I had to cut back on salt for my husband and found that I was using so little that I myself was getting dizzy and once I added salt back into my own food the dizziness went away. Thanks so much for your awesome comments.

      prasetio Thanks for coming by to read and for your comments.

      Chatkath thanks so much.

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      Great Hub Susan-As we all use salt so why not know more about it!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Nice information, Susan. Salt is always needed in cooking. Cooking will taste bland without salt. But use this wisely, too much salt isn't good for us. Well done, my friend. I give my vote to you!


    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 6 years ago from UK

      Would you believe it, only last week I saw a couple of patients who were puzzled about their illness- one with an underactive thyroid and the other a very low blood pressure. I figured they both went to the extreme of completely avoiding salt in their 'healthy' diet. A very timely hub and I agree with your views 100%. voted up!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Very good infomation.I don't use a lot of salt, but i can't imagine food without it. I use the Sea salt for mouth wash..I like it much better..It's refreshing and fights bacreria.


    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      I am a salt aholic! I am glad to have the tips on when to salt - I knew it dried meat out and it can adversely affect so many things if used before cooking. I just didn't know anything about when to use it - so I usually wait and salt after. I'm so glad to know I should be salting vegetables first - I hope it makes my fried potatoes browner! It seems like I cook them forever and they don't get brown! I couldn't figure out why:)


    • chamilj profile image

      chamilj 6 years ago from Sri Lanka

      I don't think anyone can eat food without adding salt while cooking. The real taste of food comes with salt. Voted up!

    • profile image

      anyl 6 years ago

      awesome definition............

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 6 years ago from Southern California

      Hooray, for promoting the positive aspects of salt. You hear so many things about not needing salt these days, it kind of makes you wonder. Well I wonder no more, you made a pretty good case for salt. Thank you Susan for setting the record straight. Voted Up/useful!

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      The key to most things is moderation. As you pointed out, too little salt in unhealthy, too.

    • Merlin Fraser profile image

      Merlin Fraser 6 years ago from Cotswold Hills

      I'm Soooooo Glad you published this. With your permission I'm going to print it out and staple it to the forehead of every moron who keeps telling me salt is bad for me and therefore they are not going to put it into anything I may want to eat.

      Thus causing me to put twice as much salt on everything trying to reproduce the taste it would have had if they had used a little in the cooking process.

      It's amongst the worst case of Nannyism going...

      I'm a big boy, just give me the facts then bugger off and let me decide what I'm going to do or not do as I see fit.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Interesting information. Because of blood pressure I largely avoid adding salt to food. Still there are time when a little salt is useful.