Correct and balanced use of salt is of extreme importance: if, on the one hand, it is fundamental for the body, on the other, its excess is one of the most common causes of cardiovascular disease. The reason why the health recommendations on salt are few and simple. It does not matter if the grains are white, blue, red, or pink, the important thing is that it is little (no more than 5g a day) and that it contains iodine!
However, what is salt? Moreover, why do we find it in so many colors on the market?Salt, or more correctly, sodium chloride, is a mineral essential for the normal functioning of our body; not by chance, we have lots of receptors that allow us to perceive the salty taste, one of the five fundamental flavors. In the kitchen, it has many uses: to flavor, to preserve, to dehydrate, we also use salt for the preparation of cold cuts, pickles, and much more. It can be obtained from seawater (sea salt) or extracted from mines resulting from the slow evaporation of ancient sea basins (rock salt). From the “raw” salt, after a refining process that eliminates most of the other salts present, “refined” salt (“coarse” and “fine”) is obtained, containing mainly 98% sodium chloride. During the extraction phase, traces of other minerals (iron, potassium, magnesium, etc.) may remain, but for the smallest quantity present, their nutritional relevance is zero. However, it is this percentage of residual minerals that is responsible for the different colors of the salt, mainly iron oxides remain.
Is it better than the other? Although in recent times, it is considered a natural source of several minerals, absent (or almost) in white salt, from a nutritional point of view, they are the same way.
Furthermore, it is enough to think that among all of them, the only necessary mineral, iodine, is present in a very minimal amount. Iodine, on the other hand, is a significant element for the formation of thyroid hormones, which plays a central role in the development of the nervous system and in maintaining metabolic balance. One of its deficiencies is the most frequent cause of thyroid disease, goiter, nodules, or hypothyroidism: a significant public health problem widespread worldwide, and that also in the US affects over 6 million people. For this reason, the health recommendations recommend the choice of iodized salt:
Color in food is a significant factor, and the eye certainly plays its part. Once, it was just white. Now we have a rainbow of colors at our disposal. However, the reflection is another: salt and salt, and as such, we must treat it! Having established this, is it worth spending more on Hawaii’s red salt than the common iodized white salt? If the intent is to make a gourmet dinner surely, the important thing is not to expect miraculous properties!