Salt is, without a doubt, the most important condiment in the world. No dish can be prepared without it, and it has several other uses too. This article will particularly discuss the best cooking salts available in the Indian market. But, before that, you will also read about the various properties of salts and how you can buy them according to your needs.
Salt's importance can be judged by Mahatma Gandhi's Dandi March against the repressive salt tax levied on Indians by the colonial Britishers. You must have also heard of iodide salts. Iodine was specially added to salts to provide iodine to people with various diseases, such as goitre, because of its lack. Let's read this article to understand what you need from the common salt at your home. This article has been reviewed by a professional nutritionist Ruchi Wadhwa, so read more as she discloses many unique points.
Ruchi Wadhwa is a certified Nutritionist with a keen interest in Ayurvedic science. She has a wholesome, holistic, and sustainable approach to nutrition.
mybest editing team consists of experienced members who have backgrounds in writing, editing, translation, and more. We are dedicated to researching what makes a product or service the best to users in India in order to create top-quality articles. From skincare, to kitchen appliances, and to DIY supplies, our mission is to find the best ones for you.
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Table of Contents
There are various types of salts available, with different uses. We will guide you through these various uses in this buying guide and would also help you select the best type of salt for your family.
There are numerous types of salts available for cooking available in the Indian market. The different types depend on where and how the salt was extracted, how it was dried, and how much it is processing.
Based on these factors, many different salts have different compositions of nutrients. Read about these in detail to find out the best salt you need for your family's nutrition.
Table salt is the most common form of salt used in every household. This salt is finely ground and is rid of any impurity. It also goes through extreme polishing, which means that it is not the healthiest option available.
There is an anti-caking agent added to these salts to keep it in its finely ground form. It comes loaded with iodine these days, which is an essential ingredient for thyroid patients. However, excessive intake of this salt can lead to other health problems.
Common table salt is almost 40% sodium and 60% chloride. It also usually has 45 micrograms of iodine per gram of salt. Iodine is not added to salt in every country, but in India, almost every common salt brand has iodine in it. The high content of sodium also makes it less soluble and retains water in your body.
Salt, without a doubt, is an essential ingredient in cooking and preparing food. It is a commodity that everyone uses despite their economic status, thus, making it ideal for supplementation of iodine in our diets. Iodine is an important mineral, and its deficiency can result in conditions like goiter and cretinism.
Salt is essentially the most feasible source of iodine in our diets. Moreover, it provides other minerals like sodium and chloride. Despite all the said benefits, it should not be consumed in excess as one teaspoon of salt provides around 2300mg of sodium, and excessive intake of salt can affect the overall consumption of sodium which has been linked with health issues like high blood pressure, kidney stones, heart failure, etc. if taken in excess.
The typical Indian diets contain a high amount of sodium, with an average Indian consuming 119% more than the WHO recommended intake of 5g or one teaspoon per day. Therefore, exposing them to the risk of several chronic health conditions.
Finely ground table salt, commonly used for preparing food, seems to be a bigger culprit here as it naturally provides more sodium per teaspoon than rock or sea salt. Thereby affecting the overall intake of sodium. So, one should opt for sea salt instead of regular table salt as it provides 300mg less sodium per teaspoon at a very similar taste.
Himalayan salt or black salt or simply kala namak is a special seasoning in many Indian salads and fruits. Indians know that this salt treats bloating, constipation, heartburn, and stomach cramps. The black salt has assorted spices, charcoal, tree bark, and seeds, giving it a reddish black colour.
It is not usually directly used for cooking but is a must for every kitchen. Black salt has amazing antioxidant properties and regulates blood pressure by acting as a natural blood thinner.
It has deficient sodium levels in it and contains important minerals such as calcium, iron, and magnesium. However, physicians recommend not to consume more than 6 grams of black salt a day as it can raise the blood pressure beyond normal.
Black salt or 'Kala Namak' is one of those pungent spices, which one can always find in an Indian kitchen. It has been vouched by Ayurveda, for thousands of years, for its holistic and medicinal properties; from treating heartburn and bloating to improving digestion, it is popular for its many health benefits.
It is loaded with other minerals like iron, potassium, fluoride, and chloride and has less sodium than your regular salt. Thereby making it a better choice for people with hypertension and Osteoporosis that require sodium restrictions for its management. Even then, it should be consumed in moderation as it is also known to increase blood pressure when eaten in excess.
Himalayan Pink Salt is probably one of the healthiest cooking salts in the world. It is popularly known as sendha namak in India. Ayurveda has advised on using only sendha namak for all sorts of cooking as it is loaded with 84 natural minerals and nutrients. It controls the pH level of the blood cells, maintains blood-sugar levels, and decreases muscle cramps.
Its colour can range from white to deep pink. The colour changes with the exact place it comes from, but they are all filled with the same qualities. The Himalayan pink salt has almost the same content of sodium chloride as the common table salt, but it has the 84 natural minerals and other trace elements that make it much more nutritious.
Pink Himalayan salt or 'sendha namak' is often referred to as 'vrat ka namak.' It is commonly used in many Indian households because of its religious importance and perceived health benefits. Recently, Pink Himalayan salt has gained a lot of attention globally because of its usage in the infamous ketogenic diet.
The reason behind its sudden fame is its all-natural manufacturing process which is responsible for its mineral-rich composition without the addition of any outside chemicals. Pink Himalayan salts contain around 84 minerals like Zinc, Iron, Calcium, Potassium, etc.
Although all these elements are found in minimal amounts, which are not enough to meet their daily requirements, this does make it the lesser of the two evils compared with the regular salt. Also, It is said to provide considerably less sodium per serving than the regular table salt, thereby making it a healthier option.
Smoked salt, as the name suggests, undergoes a slow smoking process over a wood fire. The wood is typically from pine, hickory, apple, or alder. This salt is usually used by some top chefs as it brings out extreme smoky flavours in some special foods. It is mostly used to flavour and season meats.
Smoked salts are used to impart bold, unique, and complex smokey flavor to your food, especially grilled meats. It is used as a finishing salt and added after the food is cooked. This is done to preserve its unique taste, which is very delicate and is completely lost if added while cooking food.
Kosher salt can be defined as healthier table salt. It has a rough and flaky texture and is not well ground. This salt also does not undergo iodine fortification, therefore people with thyroid should not cook all their meals using this salt.
It also does not have an anti-caking agent, which means there are fewer chemicals added. Many chefs prefer kosher salt over other salts because it produces mild flavour.
Whereas one tablespoon of the common table salt has around 2300 milligrams of sodium, a teaspoon of kosher salt has around 1800 milligrams. It is slightly above the range of 1200-1500 milligrams required by an average adult.
Kosher salt or flake salt has a large porous grain, which makes it ideal for an age-old preservation technique called 'curing.' A teaspoon of kosher salt weighs lesser than a teaspoon of regular salt because of its bigger size.
Consequently, the amount of sodium provided by one teaspoon of kosher salt is much less than the regular salt. This makes it ideal for people suffering from chronic conditions like heart disease, Kidney disease, etc., which get affected by overall sodium in diet.
Every form of salt, typically, contains some nutrients and should ideally be used in variations. Iodized salts are found to be the most common that have an edge over other salts because of their thyroid-fighting properties.
However, too much table salt can affect your kidneys, heart, and blood pressure. People who consume a lot of sodium find that their body retains more water, gradually developing various ailments. A regular person should not consume more than one teaspoon, i.e. 2300 mg sodium, of salt in a day.
However, if you have high blood pressure, you should only consume three-fourth of a teaspoon, i.e. 1500 mg sodium. People with high blood pressure should switch to Himalayan salt. It will not be heavy on the heart or kidneys.
At present, around 29% of the world's population resides in areas that are geographically deficient in iodine, i.e., the soils in these areas do not contain iodine and, consequently, the food derived from it. In India, around 350 million people are at risk of developing iodine deficiency disorders because they do not consume iodized salt adequately.
Therefore, it is important to consume iodized salt daily, as it is really the only iodine source in our diet. But, one should not go beyond the WHO recommendation of 5g salt/day as this amount is enough to meet your daily requirement of iodine.
Salt is an underrated food ingredient as people do not realize how much nutrition can they get from their salt alone. The moisture content, the drying method, and the natural and added minerals can make huge differences in your meal's nutrition. Let us learn about the moisture and mineral content in our salts.
Many brands keep the moisture of the natural salts intact. This helps retain the minerals present in it. It is believed that about 80% of the minerals can be retained in the salt by keeping the moisture content the way it is while packing.
These unrefined salts are readily available in the Indian market now, and people are becoming more aware of the qualities that they contain.
Unprocessed salts like rock salt are hygroscopic in nature, and it tends to absorb moisture from the surrounding areas. Due to this reason, they can retain most of their minerals. So, next time when you go grocery shopping, choose salts that are minimally processed, like pink Himalayan salt, kosher salt, etc.
The composition of the salt is any day the most important thing in salt. You must have heard magnesium, potassium chloride, iron, etc. in the marketing campaigns of many salt brands. These minerals occur naturally in sea salts and other rock salts.
The less a salt is processed, the more qualities it will have. Often times, salt is processed to add iodine or sodium chloride in it. This certainly adds these essential elements in salt but deprives you of the naturally beneficial minerals. Therefore, check the back of the packet the next time you buy salt for your family.
It is a good practice to check labels before buying any food item, even if it is as simple as salt. Look at the ingredient list at the back of the pack. Ensure that the salt you buy is minimally processed and fortified with iodine, especially if you are pregnant or lactating, or suffering from hyper/hypothyroidism.
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Himalayan Rock Salt
84 Essential Minerals for Your Body
Low-Sodium for Great Health
Flavour With Nutrition for All Your Dishes
The Versatile Salt to Add Crunch
Celery Sea Salt Seasoning
A Must Have Seasoning in Your Pantry
Pioneer of Salt Iodization
Sprinklers Iodized Table Salt
Season Your Food With Ease
Indian Non-Iodised Sea Salt
Unrefined Pure Salt
Rock Salt Grinder
Grind Your Salt Grains
Himalayan Rock Pink Salt
No Harmful Additives
This pure Himalayan rock salt by Midiron tops our list because Himalayan rock salt is the world's purest salt. It contains 84 essential minerals, including magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, and copper. All these minerals are required for the necessary nourishment of your family.
The rock salt does not contain iodine as it interferes with the salt's natural properties. So, a thyroid patient can consume this salt alternatively with an iodine-induced one. This rock is known to lower blood pressure and blood sugar level. It has a unique cooling property, as opposed to other common salts. This keeps the pitta in balance.
Tata has made a name for itself in the Indian salt market over the years. This product, Tata Salt Lite, has 15% lower sodium than the regular salt. This composition can help you control your blood pressure and shed those extra pounds you always wanted to.
Salts with low sodium let you get rid of the excessive water a body holds. Studies have shown that high sodium is also a cause of hypertension among the urban population. Regular consumption of this salt can help you relieve your stress and make you feel alive again.
In Indian culture, rock salt has always been recommended for various ailments. It is best if this salt is unprocessed and consumed raw. Tata's rock salt is just that. It contains naturally occurring calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
People struggling with metabolism issues should definitely switch to this salt as it boosts metabolism and helps you maintain your energy levels throughout the day. This, in turn, will show positive effects on your immunity. All in all, if consumed wisely, this salt can treat almost every lifestyle disorder in your body.
Kosher is a versatile salt. Its grains are coarse, making them easier to distribute evenly. The word "kosher" comes from the Jewish method of extracting blood from the meat.
This salt is also extracted raw and consumed almost without any processing, so it also contains more minerals than the common salt. It adds crunch to your favourite dishes. Many top chefs love using kosher salts to prepare and season their dishes, especially meat.
It is also known to bring electrolyte balance in your body, maintaining blood vessels and blood cells. Just toss this salt on your favourite meat, salami, or even popcorn, and enjoy!
This celery sea salt by Sprig is a typical seasoning salt that can elevate the taste of your food. It is a mixture of celery seeds and sea salt from the Pacific Ocean. It gives your favourite dishes a delightful and mild extra flavour.
You can season your sandwiches, pizzas, pasta, burger patties, etc., with this salt. It is also advisable to add this salt to your fruit and vegetable juices, salads, meats, and eggs.
Tata Salt started iodizing salts in India. Iodine was added to it as Indians needed at least 150 gms to avoid many diseases. Even children can be protected from brain damage using adequately iodized salt.
This salt is vacuum evaporated, unlike some other raw salts that are evaporated in the sun. It is finely grained and easily dissolves in water. People in India have been using this brand for decades, and it has become an allusion for salt in the country.
Catch has been a big name in all spices and condiments in India. This plastic bottle is a sprinkler that you can keep directly on your dining table.
It has holes of different sizes, facilitating sprinkling different amounts of salt. This product makes our list mainly because of the ease of using salt through this.
This salt by Thanjai Natural is 100% hand-harvested and unrefined. Unlike many other commercially available salts, the Indian Sea Salt has no preservatives, no chemicals, and no bleach added to it. It is also sun-dried as compared to vacuum evaporated.
This pure salt is known to balance fluids in the body and help avoid dehydration. It is an excellent source of electrolytes and can replenish your body fluids after an intense workout. It also ensures proper muscle, nervous system, and brain function.
This product by Keya lets you grind the rock salt yourself. It gives you the taste of freshly-ground salt, rich in minerals. Just use the grinder to season your food using this small bottle directly. It has an air-tight, adjustable, and moisture-resistant grinding cap, ensuring that the rock salt remains preserved.
This salt has no preservatives, no additives, no fillers, no MSG, and no anti-caking agent added. This makes it a 100% pure and natural rock salt that can add value and nutrition to every food item. You can also adjust the knob for fine or coarse grinding.
This Himalayan Pink Salt has 15% lower sodium than normal Himalayan Pink Salt. This premium quality salt is mined from the salt mines of the Himalayan region. It contains 84 minerals, including magnesium and potassium chloride. It helps in maintaining the pH levels in your body.
The electrolytes and minerals help you stay hydrated. It regulates the water content both inside and outside the cell. It is advised to drink a glass of warm water with a pinch of this salt to replenish all your body fluids. It can prove to be better than any energy drink available.
In the YouTube video above by Pankaj Bhadouria, watch and learn about the various salts used in the Indian kitchens. This video will guide you about:
1. 3 types of salts and their uses
2. The extraction of these salts
3. The minerals in these salts
We have been able to maintain centuries-old Indian cooking habits in our homes. However, with modernization, the devices used have transformed immensely. Take a look at a few such devices and appliances that you can add to your kitchen and increase its utility.
I hope you have learned a lot about the importance of the most common condiment in your kitchen. The simple salt that you consume can give you so many vital nutrients for your body. Use this information to buy yourself the best salt, according to your lifestyle and condition.
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