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Why to Choose Celtic Sea Salt over Himalayan shares why I stopped buying or using pink salts, based on my doctor’s advice, scientific studies and how my body felt.
Years ago, I bought and used Himalayan salt, believing it to be mineral-rich and much better than table salt. Sea salt was what I had been using. I thought the two salts were interchangeable, and because so many people recommend Himalayan, I thought perhaps it was THE superior salt.
What happened next and what my doctor (read about him here and here) told me on the subject helped me to switch over to Celtic Sea Salt for good.
Himalayan salt gave me headaches. When I asked my doctor about this, he simply nodded as if he expected that. Yes, he said, and then explained:
Himalayan salt, also called rock salt, is mined. It’s been compressed for millennia or longer. Making sole (pronounced so’-lay) with Himalayan salt helps to some extent because the overnight soaking of the salt in water allows the salt to become digestible again (more on that below).
In contrast, how long ago was Celtic Sea Salt wet? Very recently, right? In fact, it’s still wet. And our bodies are made up mostly of water, right? Celtic Sea Salt assimilates really well into our bodies. Our bodies immediately digest it and use its minerals.
Not so with Himalayan, especially for those with sensitivities, like me. Yet everyone is better off with a good quality wet Celtic Sea Salt for the greatest quantity of trace minerals and the best possible assimilation of nutrients! While Himalayan salt may have some trace minerals, our bodies can’t access all of them.
Electrolytes in Sea Salt
The headaches I was having occurred because of an imbalance of sodium and water in my body. (source) The salt’s limited minerals weren’t being absorbed, causing high sodium in my blood and a dilation of blood vessels; (our cells won’t let water in because they’re protecting their cell salt ratio, unless more minerals are going to replace the ones being washed out).
There is a similar reason table salt causes headaches: Its dry state and mineral-deficient profile make it unusable by the body. The body needs the minerals in sea salt for electrolytes to form, which in turn help to maintain the right balance of fluids. As the Celtic Sea Salt creators say,
Trace elements are needed to assure and maintain proper function of the body’s systems. If any one of them is left out -or even just diminished – a link will be missing, and the whole organism will suffer. That is, if any of our internal oceans are shortchanged of trace nutrients, the body will lack the triggering bio-electrical impulses and mineral building blocks necessary to operate at full efficiency or to renew its cells properly. (source)
Himalayan salt also contains more sodium than Celtic Sea Salt. (source)
Ironically, anyone who advocates for Himalayan salt but makes sole with it (read more about sole here), is living out this same truth. They are putting Himalayan salt into a form the body can use. I did use sole for many months myself, but I did not personally see a benefit. That is likely because of its low mineral content compared to Celtic Sea Salt.
Note this: Celtic Sea Salt’s trace mineral content is much higher than Himalayan’s at 7.5-23%! Himalayan salt has a trace mineral content of about 4%! (source, source and source)
(Mineral content varies considerably from batch to batch, as we learn in regard to magnesium: “The percentage of valuable magnesium salts varies greatly from one natural salt to the others. Even within the same salt farm, it is possible to extract two salts of slightly different magnesium content.” [source])
I wrote this article not to vilify Himalayan salt, but because MOST articles do not go into these details about Himalayan salt. There should be more caution and awareness surrounding it, especially for sensitive individuals. It’s easy to get on health bandwagons, for friends to tell friends what is healthy, but we often do not have all of the information.
Certainly Himalayan salt is a step up from table salt. But Celtic Sea Salt is the very best.
It is also noteworthy that despite the many health claims about Himalayan salt, there are no PubMed studies to support the claims. (source)
Sea salt’s minerals, in contrast, have been shown to improve blood pressure and kidney health. (source)
One other factor to consider is the “Himalayan” salts that come from Pakistan or from higher sections of rock (not as deep). These Himalayan salts are common, sometimes sold more cheaply and contain impurities. Fluoride contamination is the concern most often spoken of.
Understandably, one reason many people think Himalayan salt is superior is that it’s old, so it must be less contaminated. But the fact that it’s a rock salt and can not be easily assimilated overshadows that truth. Also, as mentioned above, not all pink salt is pure. If you’d like to use Himalayan salt, perhaps you already have some in your pantry, here’s how to make sole.
Additionally, did you know? Rock salts were found to be higher in microplastics than sea salts or table salt! (source)
Celtic Sea Salt sourcing
Celtic Sea Salt is harvested in Brittany, France, near the Celtic Sea, from pristine waters. Its visible grey color denotes its higher mineral content and the clay of the salt flats. The salt crystals cling together, due to their wetness.
Celtic Sea Salt can be purchased in large or tiny crystals, for cooking with or finishing a dish.
Celtic Sea Salt is the best sea salt to buy. (Find it here in fine grind, and here for course grind. Here’s a good salt mill, if you choose the course grind.)
On Celtic Sea Salt’s superiority and purity, here’s more:
Humans need the whole, clean salt from rich ocean brine with all its trace minerals. Genuinely healthful sea salt is composed of minerals from the ocean waters which have been transformed by microorganisms, algae and plants into organic nutrients; these in turn are bioavailable to animals of the sea and land.
You can find Celtic Sea Salt at many natural food stores. I buy mine here, because it’s the most convenient and the best price.
Why Not Buy Table Salt
Table salt is highly refined, being heated to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit in the manufacturing process. During this refinement its nutritional properties are lost. It is void of minerals and ends up being over 97% sodium chloride. Up to 18 food additives are allowed to be added to table salt, none of which is healthful or natural.
By avoiding table salt, we are avoiding MSG, anti-caking agents and aluminum derivatives, to name a few. Table salt has been linked to cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and many other health conditions.
Processed foods contain table salt. This is one more reason to avoid all processed foods; instead make real, home made food, from whole ingredients. There are many recipes available that cook up quickly! It’s easy to have a big salad for dinner with some sautéed fish or a grilled burger. Take the extra 10 minutes to give your body what it needs: minerals from sea salt and real food.
More Benefits of Sea Salt??
Sea salt is healing for the body in more ways than one. I wrote here about sea salt air and sea water and how they helped to heal my body on a vacation to the Bahamas.
Sea salt can also be used to address HPA axis dysfunction, thyroid disorders, headaches and more. Here’s a book I’m reading on this subject that may interest you, too.
In general, sodium is needed in our bodies for maintaining the proper volume of plasma in extracellular fluid, which ultimately affects cardiovascular health. (source) Sodium and chloride ions also play key roles in the nervous and digestive systems.
Sea salt contains more minerals than other salts. (source) Especially for those with autoimmune conditions, salt (without excess fluoride) allows the body to burn fat and improves mitochondrial dysfunction. (source)
When to Avoid Sea Salt?
There is one study which has shown there to be levels of fungi in sea salt that are higher than in the one mined salt they tested. The amount of fungi were incredibly low (and considered “normal” and safe compared with other foods we regularly ingest); but when fermenting or pickling with sea salt it is possible for this quantity to increase. I have always found that probiotics (and diatomaceous earth [here’s a fantastic product!]; read more on DE here) are two of the the best ways to kill invasive pathogens such as yeasts, molds, fungi, worms and protozoa. So it seems unlikely that a sauerkraut teeming with probiotics could also harbor a growing breed of invasive fungi. Salt itself is known to slow or prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria during the fermenting process. But the article expresses concern that fungi and molds may proliferate in preserved products.
To be safe, it may be advisable to use mined salt when preserving. (If you’re concerned, consider adding DE to your diet.) I believe this issue is more pertinent when aging foods that do not contain probiotics. For example, making sauerkraut with sea salt is less likely to be problematic than making homemade salami with sea salt. Consider using Redmond Real Salt for the latter (here).
If you are curious which other foods commonly harbor yeasts, bacterias, fungi and molds, here’s an article on that topic.
- Celtic Sea Salt contains more magnesium, potassium and calcium than other salts (and more other beneficial minerals!). (source)
- Dr. Thomas Cowan M.D., of the Weston A. Price Foundation, considers Celtic Sea Salt to be the healthiest salt choice. (source)
- Celtic Sea Salt has lower amounts of chloride and sodium. This means: If you need to cut back on sodium, you can start using Celtic Sea Salt!
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Beverly Howe says
Good information. I mostly use Himalayan salt and have never heard anything negative about it. I also have Celtic sea salt but rarely use it. Will start using it more now. My concern is that our oceans are so polluted with plastic and other pollutants. It’s got to have an effect on anything derived from the sea.
Hi Beverly, yes, a good and valid point. I do know that in 3rd party testing Celtic Sea Salt ranked among the lowest in microplastics! 🙂 Another good option to consider is Redmond Real Salt. Or, combining well-sourced refined sea salt with potassium chloride, at a ratio of 50:50.
joan weiss says
Cristina Maria Curp says
HMmmm super interesting. I’ve been using pink himalayan salt for a while and love it… but also use Hawaiian sea salt with clay in it.. will have to add celtic to my pantry!
Megan Stevens says
Angela Strohm says
Where do you buy this?
Hi Angela, here it is: https://amzn.to/3IWrhiy
I have to check celtic sea salt now since I don’t have it at home. Thanks for sharing !
Megan Stevens says
Darryl Edwards says
I had no idea about the nutrient differences between Celtic and Himalayan sea salt! Thanks for providing so much information on this topic.
Megan Stevens says
You’re welcome. Thanks, Darryl! 🙂
Marge . Cantu says
Dr. David Brownstein, M. D. from the Center for Holistic Medicine wrote a book on Salt which compares the differences between different unrefined sales.
Such an amazing article. I use Celtic sea salt a lot but didn’t actually know that it had a higher mineral concentration! I love to use both because they have such different tastes 🙂
Megan Stevens says
They really do, Georgie, so true. If it’s just for taste, I really love Murray River Flake Salt!! 🙂
Stacey Crawford says
I use the Redmond Real Salt and sometimes I get Celtic Salt as well. I have some Himalayan salt but rarely use it as it almost rock salt size. What a great informative article!
Megan Stevens says
Yes, it’s nice how readily available Redmond Real Salt is, and affordable.
Melissa @RealNutritiousLiving says
You are so wise! I love Celtic myself!
Megan Stevens says
Thanks, Melissa! 😉 xo
Emily @ Recipes to Nourish says
Thanks for providing us with so much info. I always appreciate your insight on wellness and health stuff. I used Celtic for many years and love it! I still recommend it as a favorite sea salt. Due to mold exposure I had to switch to Himalayan, as it was recommended for my family as the best for those with a history of toxic mold. I still think so highly of Celtic though, not only does it taste great, it’s also so great nutrition-wise!
Megan Stevens says
That sounds wise, Emily. There are certainly many considerations. I appreciated reading the study on sea salts and fungi found in them. I do take DE daily and believe it’s one of the main reasons I was able to overcome my pathogen issues. Our microbiome are the first thing to attend to when addressing health issues. I’m so glad you’ve had such great counsel with overcoming mold issues!!
I did not know about Celtic sea salt… Now I’m intrigued! Thank you so much! I really liked the references to the studies done on the topic.
Kari Peters says
Celtic sea salt is my favorite salt, but I do buy some Himalayan too, such a great breakdown!
Megan Stevens says
Susannah Shmurak says
Really interesting, Megan! Never heard this before. What are your thoughts on “Real Salt,” which I see recommended a lot? Same issues as Himalayan because it’s mined? Also wondering about how different brands do with microplastic contamination, a sadly widespread issue with sea salt.
Megan Stevens says
Ha, love your questions, Susannah, because you hit on all the remaining issues!! Yes, I do think Redmond Real Salt is a good product. I still think French sea salt is the best, but Redmond’s product is a good one! Regarding microplastic contamination in sea salts, I mentioned it a bit in the article, but it’s indeed controversial. There will always be opinions that favor rock salt for that reason. From what I researched and concluded for us, I trust that the French seas are still safe. The quote above mentions the ocean as a living brine, teaming with algae and microorganisms that help to clean the ocean and balance pollution. As long as ocean waters are relatively pristine (not heavily polluted), I believe this holds true. As you say, the issue is widespread, so I can’t vouch for the complete perfection of French sea salt today compared with sea salt 200 years ago. But in the context of having to choose the best from among our options, I believe French sea salt has the most benefits in its/our favor: clean water, completely bioavailable and mineral rich. (I think it’s fascinating that French cheese is also the only cheese I can eat worldwide, unless made on a local farm where I know their husbandry principles. The French seem to genuinely take care of their resources better than many cultures. In the case of dairy, they are using A2 cows and keeping them grass-fed. In most other parts of the world, one aspect of the dairy industry suffers, if not both: A1 cows or feed instead of grass.) Thankfully our bodies can filter some pollution, but the goal for all of us, of course, is to reduce that threshold wherever we can.
What about plastic contamination in sea salt? Since our oceans are full of plastic, any salt made by dehydration of sea water will contain plastic particles. This article mentions several studies: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/08/sea-salt-around-world-contaminated-by-plastic-studies
Hi Hendrica, this is a great question. Personally, I believe this issue points to our need to support detox pathways. We can’t escape the plastics in our environment, unfortunately. (Although we can reduce our personal use and purchase of plastics!) I believe we need to sweat, use saunas, be pooping twice daily, take certain individual B vitamins, consider using DE/activated charcoal and several other steps to support detoxification. Personally I take a nano particle zeolite (found here, you have to click the Shop Now button: https://meganstevens.mycoseva.com) which crosses the blood brain barrier.
Laurel Adams says
How many drops of concetrace (sp?) do you use for each glass of water? Does drinking a glass of water with minerals disturb the MMC (migrating motor complex)?
I used to use mineral drops, but I have stopped because they contain minerals like boron that we can get too much of. I now prefer making my own mineral combo and taking soil minerals. While I can’t find studies on the use of soil or liquid minerals and the MMC, I can say my own opinion which is the more we get back to eating Traditional diets, in this case mimicking the soil minerals that our water should and did have, the closer we are to healing our gut-brain ailments. I believe minerals to aid the body’s pathways and functions. Here’s my article on that topic: https://eatbeautiful.net/why-take-fulvic-acid-minerals/
Wow. This is super good info. So…do you think Real Salt is better than Himalayan? We try to have staples stockpiled and was about to buy a large bag of salt, certainly can’t do it with the Celtic, but maybe either Real Salt or Himalayan…..?
Great question. Yes, Real Salt is a good option for sure.
Really interesting an eye opening. I had switched from Cornish (a form of Celtic salt) sea salt to Himalayan salt to increase the range of minerals and to avoid the contamination from the sea.
I live in England and visit Northern France regularly and I am afraid to tell you that the sea is pretty polluted there too. In fact tests were done on mussels in the region and every single one came back positive for toxic plastics. The Mediterranean in southern France is one of the most polluted in the world and I certainly wouldn’t swim in it or eat anything out of it.
So sad that this is the world today, just don’t know what is the best option.
Thanks for your comment and insights Emma! I now take nano-particle zeolite spray to help detox plastics, even from the brain: https://meganstevens.mycoseva.com …because sadly, we can’t escape them in our modern world.
Denise Fiebig says
My doctor has told me for many years to use celtic sea salt. I used it sparingly in food. Recently I was having anxiety, sleep problems and heart palpitations. Started regularly adding it to my water and all my symptoms have disappeared. I have more energy and sleep like a baby. Celtic sea salt has given me my life back. I love it!!!
peter mckenzie says
Megan – such a depth of understanding of salt – things I never contemplated – where did you get your PhD in Salt
The calming effect of magnesium from sea salt – So simple
Lynn Rous says
How much do you put in your water of the Sea salt! I have very low iodine levels and need to get them up! Don’t want to over do it
Iris Hotakainen says
My husband has trouble keeping sodium level up, which is better Celtic or Himalayan?
Hi Iris, our bodies can absorb the sodium and other nutrients better from Celtic sea salt. Additionally, according to the USDA, one-quarter teaspoon serving of Celtic Sea Salt provides 480 milligrams of sodium whereas according to the USDA, one-quarter teaspoon serving of Himalayan pink salt provides 420 milligrams of sodium. Thanks for the great question and best wishes.
I have been using himalayan pink salt exclusively for a few years now, and I have been struggling with edema and terrible swelling in my feet and ankles. I eat very healthy and have tried eliminating so many things trying to figure out the cause of this. I am also in good shape and very active which helps with the edema, but only short term. I am going to switch to Celtic Sea Salt but was wondering if you think the exclusive use of himalayan salt could be the cause of this. If so, how long after switching over do you think it will take to see a difference. Thanks!
Judy Thompson says
Thank you for this great article. My brother sent me an article touting Himalayan salt, and I’ve used Celtic salt for a dozen years since I first read Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions. I was thrilled to find your article to send back to him!
I’m so glad Judy. Thank you for your comment! 🙂
Hi. I was wondering if I should give the Celtic salt a quick rinse before making Sole? My first batch looks mucky and there is a slimy looking layer floating on top.
Hi Jojo, you can certainly try that. I haven’t made sole with Celtic salt before, only mined/Himalayan salt, because Celtic’s minerals are already available to the body.
What about using Celtic Salt as a soak in your bath?
Yes, this would be great in a detox bath; the only issue is the cost, as Celtic salt is more expensive. I like to use Dead Sea Salt, magnesium salt, epsom salt or mineral salts in my baths. (https://eatbeautiful.net/2015/01/18/take-detox-bath-k-taking-baths/)
Jennifer Parker-Kienutske says
The ONLY salt I ever use!
I can’t stand the taste of anything else any more. Regular manufactured table salt tastes like chemicals to me since I switched to natural salt, Himalayan tastes very harsh to me since I switched to Celtic Sea Salt.
I have MS, IBS, Hashimotos, and other auto immune related issues.
I was depressed and couch bound for months. Finally got into a marvelous holistic MD and slowly but surely got my life back.
I feel lucky to live in Michigan and have access to the same practice as you. My MD is Dr Ng and I can’t thank him enough!
Ange La says
How much do you take? I’m having a hard time finding dosage info. Thanks
Kent Teller says
I use both and have for years but I didn’t notice any “honesty” about traces of lead and mercury found in tests of Celtic. Almost no level of mercury is considered safe.
hi,what about all the radiation in the seas now ,could celtic salt be iradiated if taken from to near the top
Hi Brian, it seems longer-lived radioactive elements have a half life of 30 years, so it may be best to use a salt like Redmond’s Real Salt until that time, based on the 2011 Fukushima disaster time frame.
Hi! Loved this article! So enlightening and helpful!
Was wondering if you could provide a recommendation on the healthiest type of celtic salt to use. Regular (whether fine ground or coarse) or the light grey variety. I’m not sure which one to buy.
Hi Elle, I like the Celtic Sea Salt brand, this one: https://amzn.to/3ukY1LO (I like both the fine and course grinds, depending.) So glad the article was helpful! 🙂
After reading this article I purchased some Celtic salt and have been using it exclusively. However, I’m now hearing about a salt that is even better! It’s called Baja Gold, and it’s even lower in sodium and chloride than Celtic (28% sodium, 49.8% chloride). I’m being advised to strictly lower my salt usage by my doctors because of my hepatic portal hypertension which is causing a varices problem; but, having also read the book you mentioned am hesitant to do that. I am hoping that using a salt with the lowest sodium and chloride content will be helpful. So have you heard about Baja Gold and what are your thoughts about it? https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07G21W99F/ref=ox_sc_saved_title_7?smid=A3F1AJXJL2C472&psc=1
Hi Naomi, great question. My concern with the Baja product is that you get less sodium but more minerals, some of which the body does not need more of, and also more pollution. What I’ve started doing instead is using part Potassium Chloride to make potassium salt. You could use refined sea salt or Celtic, combined at whatever ratio you choose with the potassium. Here is that recipe and an article on the topic that’s hopefully helpful: https://eatbeautiful.net/homemade-lite-salt-salt-substitute-recipe-morton-copycat-salt-potassium/