Which Salt Is Better? Table – Kosher – Sea – Himalayan – Celtic

I’ve been intrigued with a lot of the press recently around different types of salts, which salt is better, and especially if any are healthy.  There’s a lot of information out there, but here’s my summary:

Salt in General

Salt is a crystalline mineral that is mined from various deposits found in the earth or evaporated from saltwater bodies – either lakes or ocean.  Salt is made of two elements, sodium (NA) and chlorine (Cl).  Both are essential for life in humans and animals for several reasons.  Some of the health benefits of unrefined salt are:

  1. Salt aids blood sugar control by improving insulin sensitivity. A low-salt diet actually increases insulin resistance (see study #1 and study #2)
  2. It’s a natural antihistamine and may improve an allergic reaction or an asthma attack (source).
  3. Salt lowers adrenaline spikes. Adrenaline is an important stress hormone and sometimes necessary (fight or flight responses), but if it’s out of sync, it can take a toll on the body.
  4. Adequate salt intake supports balanced hormones. Read more about this from nutrition researcher Ray Peat.
  5. Salt helps the brain and nerves send electrical impulses.
  6. Acceptable salt consumption encourages a faster metabolism and healthy weight by eliminating unhealthy blood cortisol levels (see study).
  7. Salt can improve sleep quality due to its suppression of stress hormones and increasing the metabolic rate.
  8. Because salt supports balanced hormones and reduces stress hormones, it supports thyroid function.


Regular table salt is the most used, and the most refined.  Providers grind it heavily and remove most of the impurities and minerals.  It is almost pure sodium chloride – 97% or more.  One of the biggest issues is clumping when it’s ground this heavily.  Other powdery foods will do this too, and therefore anti-clumping compounds will be added to help it flow more freely.  Under U.S. law, table salt can have up to 2% of additives, which are usually the anti-clumping compounds (ferrocyanide, talc, and silica aluminate are commonly included) and iodine.


Sea salt is mostly just sodium chloride, but instead of being mined from salt deposits, it’s made by evaporating sea water.  It usually does contain more trace minerals like zinc, potassium and iron, but it can also contain contaminates (like lead) depending on where in the world’s oceans it is taken from.  Natural sea salt will be off-white and moist.

Sea salt isn’t ground down as much as refined salt and is often coarser.  Because of this, it may have a different feel in your mouth and give you a “burst” of salt flavor when chewed.  According to the Mayo Clinic, however, it has about the same nutritional value as table salt. 


This type has a flaky, coarse look, and is primarily used in the Jewish religion.  Since Jewish law requires that all blood be extracted from meat before it is eaten, the structure of this salt aids in its extraction.

Many chefs like to use kosher salt for this very reason, depending on the type of meat that they are cooking and the finished result they want to achieve.  Otherwise, it is less likely to have additives and iodine, but is comparable to table salt.

Pink Himalayan

The pink color is due to trace amounts of iron oxide

Himalayan is mined from ancient sea beds in Pakistan and often contains trace amounts of iron, potassium, magnesium and calcium.  The pink color is due to trace amounts of iron oxide.  It usually has a lower sodium content than regular salt.  It looks pretty in mills and keepers, and adds a burst of flavor, especially with fish like salmon.  Many health experts agree that Himalayan salt is better than most of the others because of its purity and higher mineral content.


Harvesting Celtic salt in Brittany

Originally became popular in France, where it is harvested off the Brittany coast in the north.  It is harvested using the Celtic method of wooden rakes that doesn’t allow any metal to touch the salt, thereby preserving its living enzymes.  It is air and sun-dried in clay ponds.  It has a light grayish color and is quite moist. Many are coming to realize that this salt is better than some of the others, but its moisture content makes grinding it at home difficult without a specialty mill.

Mills and Keepers

Unrefined salts need special mills to grind them.  A regular pepper mill usually won’t grind them effectively, or will corrode from the salt’s natural acids. We offer several salt mills that have adjustable grinds with lifetime warranties on the grinding mechanism.  Salt keepers (that are not metal) are also a nice addition if you’d like to use a “pinch” or spoon it onto your food.

Which is Better?

Bottom line, depending on what you’re cooking and using it for, any unrefined salt is better for you, and can be used in moderation.  Choose the type that is best for what you’re cooking and the amount of salty taste you want.  Just be sure it’s not overly processed. Sometimes a cheaper cost indicates it’s more processed.  Personally, I think refined (table) salt should be avoided.

Romancing the Bean In Cold Brew Coffee

homemade cold brew coffee poured over ice
Pouring our homemade cold brew coffee over ice

Cold brew coffee is the latest coffee sensation, and for good reason!  Pour it over ice and it’s refreshing in the summer heat.  Drink it hot and it’s so much smoother than the typical hot drip.

For years many have cautioned against coffee use, but the latest research shows that there are quite a few health benefits to drinking up to three cups of coffee a day.

  1. It can help fight all kinds of diseases, including Parkinson’s, dementia, Alzheimer’s, heart and liver diseases, and dying prematurely.
  2. It boosts your brainpower by sharpening memory and keeping you alert. It is also associated with a decreased risk of depression.
  3. The caffeine in coffee can speed up your metabolism and fat-burning processes. This can ward off obesity and type 2 diabetes.  Plus, black coffee is one of the lowest calorie drinks you can choose.

While we’re not sure of exactly why coffee has all these benefits, researchers believe it may be tied to the high levels of antioxidants, minerals and polyphenols that are in coffee.

Cold brew coffee, in particular, has more health advantages than hot drip coffee because it’s less acidic, making it easier on the digestive system.  This is particularly better for those who struggle with acid reflux, heartburn or a sensitive stomach.  Additionally, less acid means it’s smoother.  Many find that they don’t need as much sugar, cream or milk that add all those calories – so it’s even better for those trying to watch their weight and control sugar and fat intake.

Homemade-Cold-Brew-Coffee_on ice
Delicious and refreshing!

So, why is there less acid in cold brew coffee?  Well, it basically boils down to time replacing heat.  The hot drip or brew releases certain fatty acids and oils, such as ketones, esters and amides, that are only soluble at higher temperatures.  These often come to the surface of your hot cup of coffee and cause that “bitter” taste.  This is also why 8 out of 10 people attempt to soften that acidic taste with calorie bombs of sugar, milk and or cream.

The beauty of cold brew is that the coffee beans are never exposed to the high heat that releases those fatty acids and oils.  Instead, room temperature water gently coaxes the subtle notes of flavor out of the beans without compromising flavor or our need for caffeine.  In many ways, it’s like a romance that gently unfolds, leaving us thoroughly satisfied without that bitter taste in our mouth.  Deep down, we realize that this is how coffee was meant to be!

All of this is great news, until you go to your local specialty coffee house and see the exorbitant prices for this delicious cup of yum!  Aficionados give us several guidelines for cold brewing at home.  coffee bean storage canisterFirst, get whole bean coffee and coarsely grind it, or it will cause the coffee to be cloudy.  The beans don’t actually have to be the best (read “expensive”) coffee, or the freshest.  Just be sure your beans aren’t more than a month old and have been stored properly.  Use about ¾ cup beans to 4 cups of room temperature water, stir, cover and let soak for 12 – 24 hours.  The longer the beans soak, the more intense and concentrated the flavor and the caffeine level.  Just be sure to not go much over 24 hours or the beans will be “over-extracted” and cause bitterness, which defeats the whole process!

If you’re not using one of the cold brew pots that have built-in filters, you’ll need to strain your concentrate through cheese cloth a couple of times.  Cold brew coffee potfrench press cold brew coffee potYou can also use a French Press pretty effectively as well, but it should be strained at least once.  It can then be poured over ice, or diluted with hot or cold water to your taste and temperature preferences.  Yes, cold brew coffee makes a delicious HOT cup of coffee!  Add sugar and creamer if you like, but you’ll find you won’t need as much because the coffee is much smoother.

The finished concentrate can be stored in the refrigerator for later use.  We recommend no more than a week, but we can never make it last that long!