There is a type of salt for everything these days, so if you are looking for the best salt for adding distinctive flavor and even some health benefits, here are some great choices for you.
Best Salt Types Overview
There is so much more to salt than sodium chloride. Flavors, textures, and the density of salts vary a lot. Additionally, their nutritional profile can vary a lot too. Here are the best salt brands based on ratings, health considerations, cost, and on their unique features.
|Best Truffle Salt||San Francisco Salt Company Italian Black Truffle Sea Salt||$14 for 4 ounces|
|Best Naturally Iodized Salt (Seaweed Salt)||Saltverk Seaweed Salt||$12 for 3 ounces|
|Best Salt for High Blood Pressure||
||Ruved Wright Salt Salt Alternative |
Spor Seasonings Everything Bagel Seasoning
|Both are around $11 for 10 ounces|
|Best Salt for Steak||Saltverk Lava Sea Salt||$13 for 3 ounces|
|Best Finishing Salt (Flaked Salt)||Maldon Sea Salt Flakes||$13 for 1 pound|
|Best Himalayan Salt||The Spice Lab Himalayan Salt||$ 9 for over 2 pounds|
|Best Fine Grain Salt for Baking and the Table||Soeos Himalayan Fine Grain Salt||$8 for 2.5 pounds|
|Best Black Salt (For Egg Substitute)||Sundhed Himalayan Black Rock Salt||$14 for 14 ounces|
|Best Course Grain Salt (Best Salt for Grinder)||Saltworks Pure Ocean Sea Salt||$22 for 5 pounds|
|Best Green Salt||Green Salt Salicornia||$22 for 7 ounces|
|Best Kosher Salt||Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt||$11 for 3 pounds|
|Best Fleur De Sel||Le Guerande Fleur De Sel||$25 for 2 pounds|
|Best Hawaiian Red Salt||Saltworks Alaea Hawaiian-Style Sea Salt||$18 for 1 pound|
|Best Gray Salt||Viva Doria Sel Gris French Light Grey Sea Salt||$10 for 1 pound|
|Best Smoked Salt||Maldon Smoked Sea Salt||$12 for 4.4 ounces|
Best Truffle Salt
San Francisco Salt Company Italian Black Truffle Sea Salt is the best-rated truffle salt on the market because of its notably strong truffle flavor and its value. This works great as a finishing salt for popcorn, on top of steaks, and served at the table for just about any dish where you want to elevate the flavor with truffles. Also, when it comes to brands of salt, San Francisco Salt Company has a long-standing great reputation. Its price is $14 for 4 ounces, but a little goes a long way.
Best Naturally Iodized Salt (Seaweed Salt)
Saltverk Seaweed Salt is the best-iodized salt because it contains natural iodine from seaweed. Unlike typical iodized salt that contains unwanted anti-caking agents, this salt is as pure as it gets from a company that brings superior salt quality. And when it comes to sea salt brands, Saltverk consistently ranks highest for unique salt blends. This costs $12 for around 3 ounces. Its flavor is unique and adds a lot of complexity to any dish. As a perk, it has a great umami taste without being overly flavored of the sea. A great balance of flavors for just about any savory dish.
Best Salt for High Blood Pressure
Ruved Wright Salt Salt Alternative is the first option for high blood pressure because it contains a beneficial blend of natural minerals and tastes superior to most salt substitutes on the market. A natural source of iodine, and potassium with trace amounts of zinc and selenium too. With 50 percent less sodium than most salts, this passes as a great salt for table salt for anyone trying to cut back on dietary sodium. It only costs about $16 per 8 ounces too.
Spor Seasonings Everything Bagel Seasoning packs a powerful taste sensation that tastes salty with only 60 mg of sodium per serving. The herbs and sesame seeds in here are great for blood pressure on their own. For anyone who is trying to cut back on sodium, this is a powerful option because it still tastes salty with just a trace amount of salt. It is among the healthiest salt alternatives out there. The price is competitive at around $11 for 10 ounces.
Best Salt for Steak
Saltverk Lava Sea Salt is a high-quality salt for adding great flavor and getting a great sear on your steak. This salt serves as a good salt for margaritas too and other sweet treats such as grilling pineapple. People who like Himalayan salt will love the interesting color and special flavor of this lava sea salt. Costs around $13 for 3 ounces, which is on par for most gourmet salts.
Best Finishing Salt (Flaked Salt)
Maldon Sea Salt Flakes are a fantastic salt to finish up and brighten up any dish like meats, chicken, vegetables, salads, breads, and desserts. This popular salt is inexpensive as well at around $13 for over a pound of it. Salt flakes like these can be broken up or kept whole depending on the texture you prefer.
Best Himalayan Salt
The Spice Lab Himalayan Salt gets the best product reviews of any salt product on the market. For people who haven’t tried Himalayan salt instead of table salt, they really should. When it comes to health, this pink Himalayan salt has an advantage because it contains 84 trace minerals in addition to salt. Complexity in the mineral structure also makes this salt taste “saltier” according to many people. The flavor is distinctly better as well. This is a coarse Himalayan salt, so it works great in a salt grinder. Not to mention, this is a great value at around $9 for over 2 pounds.
Best Fine Grain Salt for Baking and Best Salt for the Table
Soeos Himalayan Fine Grain Salt is great if you want to skip the salt grinder and have a handy salt for use during the cooking process. You also get almost 2.5 pounds for around $8, so it’s a good deal too. For this price, you can ditch your usual table salt and opt for this flavorful option instead. You will probably get away with adding less salt because it is more flavorful than table salt too.
Best Black Salt (For Egg Substitute)
Sundhed Himalayan Black Rock Salt is not to be confused with black lava salt because they are distinctly different. Himalayan black rock salt like this is made with a blend of Himalayan salt and kala namak which gives this salt sulfur taste like eggs. This is perfect for people who have egg allergies and still want an eggy flavor for their food. Vegetarians and vegans use this for this purpose as well. It is also substantially lower in sodium than table salt, with 420 mg per ¼ teaspoon, which is 28% less sodium than table salt. It costs around $14 for almost 14 ounces.
Best Coarse Grain Salt
Saltworks Pure Ocean Sea Salt gets the highest ratings for a coarse-grain sea salt brand because it has larger crystals than almost any other brand on the market. Typical of most sea salts, this is a clean salty flavor without a whole lot of extra flavor notes, which is desirable for some foods and recipes. A 5-pound bag comes in at $22 as well. Getting high reviews is an important feature of this salt, and it comes from a very trusted company too.
Best Green Salt (Healthiest Salt)
Green Salt Salicornia is a unique salt substitute made of the Salicornia plant. Rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, this salt is a unique choice for people who want to reduce their salt intake while enhancing their nutrient intake. Containing 52% less sodium than table salt, this truly is a way to reduce the salt load in your diet. Fascinatingly, this salt is actually a vegetable, so it comes with antioxidants, polyphenols, and other healthy compounds. Research shows that Salicornia is good for helping reduce blood sugar, protecting bone health, lowering cholesterol, and is beneficial for the immune system. One small study found that it even helps reduce blood pressure. Has a great umami flavor too. The only downside is that its price is a little higher than other salts at $22 for 7 ounces. But your health is worth it.
Best Kosher Salt
Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt is unique because its structure makes it so that it has much less sodium than regular salt. With only 280 mg of sodium per ¼ teaspoon, this is 52% less sodium than typical table salt. It works great for brining meats such as steak, chicken, or pork chops because it helps to dry the meats without over-salting them. It is fine grain and light in weight, which makes it easier to use small amounts without overdoing the sodium. At $11 for over 3 pounds, this is a great deal as well.
Best Fleur De Sel
Le Guerande Fleur De Sel is great as both a cocktail salt and a finishing salt because it has unique savory flavors that are typical of French sea salts. Consistently, this is ranked the best tasting sea salt for salt connoisseurs. You can use less of this salt than most recipes call for as well because of its intense flavor. Costs around $25 for over 2 pounds of this fancy salt.
Best Hawaiian Red Sea Salt
Saltworks Alaea Hawaiian-Style Sea Salt is a fine-grain salt that works great as a table salt. It is a very tasty salt with a beautiful red color that is versatile enough to work in any recipe. With a slight umami flavor, it gives a unique flavor profile to many foods, including vegetables and even grilled pineapple. The price is pretty competitive at around $18 for a pound of it.
Best Gray Salt
Viva Doria Sel Gris French Light Grey Sea Salt is a fine-grain sea salt with distinctive flavors. Like all good French grey salts, this one holds moisture and you will notice this in the texture. It doesn’t clump, however, like some salts. Many reviewers won’t live without this type of salt for use at the table. It also is fantastic for searing meats and finishing meals. It’s a great deal too, for just $9 for 1.5 pounds of it.
Best Smoked Salt
Maldon Smoked Sea Salt is a large flake salt that is surprisingly versatile salt for smoked salt. Reviewers use it for meats, but even put it on top of oatmeal, cookies, and beverages for an extra flavor kick. For a smoked salt, this one is a bit milder in flavor, which allows for it to be versatile. The price is $11 for 4.4 ounces. If you are looking for bold smoked sea salt, you could try Viva Doria Hickory Smoked Salt.
What Exactly is Salt?
Salt provides two essential nutrients: sodium and chloride. These two nutrients make a crystal and together make up our collective definition of table salt.
Other nutrients, like trace minerals, may also be present in salts as we reviewed above, but salts vary depending on the type of salt you use.
Sodium and chloride are the primary compounds in salt. These two compounds are essential nutrients that have important functions in the body.
For example, they help muscles contract, support brain function, and make the heart pump.
Both of these nutrients also function as electrolytes in the body.
Natural salts can have trace amounts of other elements that are rare in today’s diet too, such as iodine.
Salt and Health Controversies
The discussion of salt should be an easy one. It’s bad for you, right? The truth is, not exactly, and not in all cases.
For example, did you know that if you avoid salt entirely, you may also be at risk for health problems? In fact, low sodium intake is linked with an increased risk of mortality.
In the British Medical Journal, experts report that there is no consensus on the ideal sodium intake for health.
But, the headlines about salt are quite conflicting. Recently, two headlines from reputable sources took polar views on the topic of salt.
A headline from Harvard Health, states that salt increases our death risk, and the next headline from New York Times, claims that sodium may help us lose weight.
I’ve worked in healthcare for a long time and can tell you that both are probably right in their own way, but neither is mutually exclusive.
Is there a time and a place for salt? Absolutely.
Does it cause health problems for some people? Definitely.
We don’t live in a bubble where food is either good or evil and absolute rules apply to all.
Nutrients and foods, when used in moderate doses and in the right settings, help balance out each other, and even have synergistic effects with other nutrients when used correctly.
Why People Love Salt So Much
Simply put, salt enhances the flavor of food and makes almost any food more enjoyable.
We are also hard-wired to want salts because they contain critical nutrients for our bodies.
Dangers of Table Salt
Sadly, refined salts like table salt make up almost 75% of the salt in people’s diets in the United States. Junk foods and packaged foods use table salt primarily too.
Common table salt has the following issues:
- Table salt has anti-caking agents, which can be unhealthy. Morton’s iodized salt contains calcium silicate and dextrose. for more information about calcium silicate, click here.
- Table salt is refined, meaning all trace minerals are removed
However, there are a couple of benefits of table salt: it is inexpensive and it can have iodine in it.
Sea Salt Types and Benefits
Sea salt, on the other hand, comes from the ocean, and many varieties are available on the market today.
- Black lava sea salt
- Hawaiian sea salt
- Smoked sea salt
- Maldon sea salt
- Light Grey Celtic sea salt
- Smoked sea salt
- Fleur de sel
Sea salt is generally better tasting than table salt and has some health advantages. This is because it often contains trace minerals and you can use less sea salt than you can table salt. For this reason, sea salts are often considered the best cooking salt.
It can have great flavor, so less is needed than when using table salt.
Trace minerals are also present in sea salt, such as potassium, iron, and zinc.
By the way, sea salt, including those from the Celtic sea, has 5% less total sodium than refined table salt.
Drawbacks to Sea Salt
There are a couple of disadvantages to using sea salt:
- It is more expensive than table salt
- Can contain small amounts of heavy metals due to ocean pollution, such as lead
- Natural sea salts have little to no iodine
- Microplastic may be found in sea salts (it’s found everywhere, however)
A recent research project measured 17 types of salt from various countries were measure for the content of microplastics.
A total of 72 plastics and contaminants were found in these salts.
The study concluded that 36 types of plastics could be consumed from eating salt alone in 1 year.
However, the total load of microplastics is still “low”.
We also get microplastics from drinking water and many other foods, especially if the foods are stored in plastic containers.
Himalayan Pink Salt and Mined Salts
Many areas of the world have salt mines. The most famous is the area of the world called the Himalayas. Other popular mined salts are Redmond salt from the Salt Lake area.
Himalayan salt is often considered the best salt for health because it has unique benefits like the following:
- Himalayan salt has 85 different types of minerals, making it the most mineral-rich salt.
- Has a unique and appetizing flavor
- Does not have microplastics because it is from a mine, not the sea.
- Heavy metal content in mined salts is in such a trace amount, that it probably doesn’t have adverse health effects
- The heavy metals in Himalayan salt may be balanced out by the presence of other beneficial minerals
However, mined salts do not contain much, if any, iodine, a nutrient that is critical for thyroid health.
General Tips About Using Salt
When eating salt, it is important to focus on balancing the sodium by getting more minerals in your diet from whole foods.
But, people swear by using natural salts and their own health benefits such as improved energy.
If you love it, use it in moderation, barring any health restrictions.
But be sure to get an iodine-rich food source in your diet if you choose sea salt or Himalayan salt. This could include kelp, seaweed, shellfish, or a supplement of natural multivitamins with minerals.
Natural salts as reviewed in this post also add their own unique flavor.
Because of this, you likely will end up using less total salt and eating less than you would eat refined table salt.
To add some more real flavor to your dishes, try out some heat and spices instead of just salt.
How Much Salt Should I Eat?
More research needs to be conducted to determine the optimal amounts of salt and types of salt in the diet.
General dietary guidelines suggest that people eat less than 2300 mg per day or less. This is equal to about a teaspoon of salt per day.
However, this recommendation doesn’t take into account the losses of sodium you may have if you exercise or are in high-heat climates where you sweat a lot. In these cases, this low level of sodium actually may be harmful.
And make no mistake, you should exercise and sweat to keep healthy, so if you do healthy activities, the guidelines probably aren’t for you either.
For example, if you work on a job where you produce sweat, you can lose from 4,000-10,000 grams of sodium per day over and above your normal losses. The dietary guidelines would be harmful to you in this case.
If you have diarrhea or vomiting, you can also become depleted in sodium.
Iodine in Salt: Considerations
Iodine is an essential nutrient that helps control thyroid function and serves to protect tissues from dangerous toxins. Iodine deficiency is a really big problem, even for your heart as low intakes of iodine are a risk factor for heart disease.
Strikingly, an estimated 75% of people in the United States have inadequate intake of iodine.
The trend to move away from iodized salt and to eat more packaged foods, which do not have added iodine, isn’t helping matters.
Iodized salt isn’t the best choice as reviewed above. But make sure you get iodine from another source or two in your diet such as seaweed, seafood, and a natural multivitamin with minerals.
An important tip about cooking with salt; iodine vaporizes as it cooks, making it disappear from your food.
To learn more, read this post in Life Extension about the Silent Epidemic of Iodine Deficiency.
Can You Get a Salt Deficiency?
Salt can be dangerous in too high of amounts.
But many people do not realize that salt can be important.
Sodium helps to:
- Reduce insulin resistance
- Minimize food addiction when used on natural foods
- Keep athletes healthy
- Maintain physically demanding jobs
- Recuperate from heat exposure
- Protect you from certain adrenal diseases
- Help certain kinds of low blood pressure
Many health concerns benefit from a reduction in added salt but especially benefit from cutting back on packaged foods due to their sodium content.
Those conditions include:
- Congestive heart failure
- Open heart surgery
- Kidney failure
- Sleep apnea
- Salt-sensitive patients with high blood pressure
Sodium Losses from Sweat
Sweating, due to the physical demands of exercise and workload, can cause large amounts of sodium loss. This can be upwards of 10-15 grams of salt over the period of a day of work.
When you sweat, you also lose important minerals like iodine, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Make sure you have a mineral-rich diet and supplement when needed.
A rule of thumb from Livestrong: for every quart you replace for hydration from exercise, add back 1000 mg of sodium unless you eat too much sodium already.
Limiting sodium for an athlete or person working heavily is probably a mistake and can be harmful.
How about a sauna? Or a very hot bath? Did you ever notice how much you can sweat doing these activities? Be aware of sodium losses here too.
Sauna use is linked to vast health benefits. 4-7 days a week for at least 19 minutes reduced cardiovascular death risk by 50%.
A caveat: Our bodies acclimate to heavy sweating, and reduce the amount of sodium lost over time.
But you will always continue to lose sodium when you sweat to some degree.
Salt and Food Addiction
Having some natural salt in the diet can be helpful in reducing carb cravings according to some experts.
David Avram Wolfe, RD, an expert in food addiction recovery, says, “It is best to stay away from table salt, especially if you identify with sugar/sweet cravings. It contains Dextrose, which is a simple sugar. I always encourage my patients to use real unadulterated sea salt, the dirtier the better.”
- Skip the packaged, processed foods
- Grab some Himalayan salt or unadulterated sea salt from the regions with the less toxic burden
- Add in some kelp and seaweed to your diet for iodine
- Eat more fruits and vegetables to help offset the negative effects of sodium
- If your doctor tells you to limit sodium, please do
- Users of Himalayan salt state that it tastes saltier than table salt, so you can use less.
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body and is shared for educational purposes only. Consult your doctor or healthcare provider before making changes to your supplement regimen or lifestyle.