What is table salt

Salt - how much can it be?

By: Jutta Kamensky - Consumer Service Bavaria

salt brings flavor to food and is vital for health.

The offer to Table salts Retail is growing so fast that it is easy to lose track of things. Pink, blue or coarse grains of salt, with spices or nutrients and sometimes dubious Promise of salvation waiting for their buyers.

Because the body needs salt too much but it harms the well-being, one should over Type, amount and effect of the daily salt ration to know exactly.

  • What is salt
  • Additives in the salt
  • Types of salt
  • Salt with added nutrients
  • Spice and herb salt
  • Special salts
  • Store salt properly
  • Salt and health
  • Eat and drink salt-consciously

What is salt

Table salt, also known as salt for short, consists of 97 percent of the two minerals sodium and chlorine in a ratio of 40 to 60. In addition, there are small amounts of calcium, magnesium and potassium. Chemically, the crystalline product is called sodium chloride. In the kitchen it is also called table salt or table salt. Salt is an important nutrient for the body that needs to be supplied through diet.

Additives in the salt

Salt should be easy to sprinkle. So-called flow aids are added as release agents for this purpose. They prevent magnesium chloride from binding water and preventing the salt from solidifying or forming lumps. A maximum of 10 grams of flow aids such as calcium carbonate (E 170) and magnesium carbonate (E 504) are permitted per kilogram of table salt. They must be in the list of ingredients.

Types of salt

Millions of years ago, the outer layers of the oceans dried up. The large layers of salt that remained slid under other layers of rock due to the displacement of the earth. In this way, huge salt deposits with the solid rock salt were created everywhere. Salt in dissolved form occurs in brines, salt lakes and in sea water.

Rock salt

The rock salt is stored up to several hundred meters deep in the underground tunnels of the salt mines. With the help of drilling and blasting work, miners mine the solid salt there. The large lumps of salt are roughly broken, finely ground and packaged. As table salt, rock salt has to be very pure. This is true if the salt is at least 97 percent sodium chloride. Pure table salt is inherently white. It must not be bleached. If the salt dome contains geological conclusions such as copper or clay, the rock salt is processed into evaporated salt in order to remove these poorly soluble compounds. Special salts such as Himalayan, Ur, Blue or Kalahari salts are rock salts.

Vacuum salt

The base for evaporated salt is the brine (salt solution). Saline-rich solutions arise naturally and artificially when fresh water is introduced into salt domes. After pumping up, evaporators concentrate the brine in the salt pans. In the process, other minerals are separated and the pure table salt crystallizes out. Most of the pure table salts are evaporated salts. They taste strongly of salt and meet the requirements for the quality of table salt with a high degree of purity.


In countries with intense solar radiation such as France, Spain and Portugal, sea salt is extracted. To do this, seawater is fed into salt marshes. These are artificially created open basins in which the water evaporates until sodium chloride crystallizes from the sun, wind and heat. Then sea salt is washed, dried and packaged. Sea salt has a similarly pure quality as vacuum salt and, depending on its origin, has its own taste.

Salt with added nutrients

The good properties of salt as a carrier are also good for your health. Evaporated salt and sometimes sea salt are enriched with the trace elements iodine, fluorine and folic acid.

Iodized salt

Since 1989 the industry in Germany has been allowed to add potassium iodate or sodium iodate to table salt. Iodized table salt contains between 15 and 25 milligrams of iodine per kilogram of salt. It tastes like normal table salt and helps prevent iodine deficiency and thyroid disorders.

Iodine-fluorine salt with folic acid

The trace element fluorine ensures stable bones and can protect against tooth decay. Iodine-fluorine salt is allowed a maximum of 250 milligrams of fluoride per kilogram of table salt be mixed. Folic acid (up to 10 mg per kg of salt) has also been added to some salts since 2003, which causes them to turn slightly yellow. Folic acid is a vitamin from the B group and is involved in many growth and development processes in the body.

Spice and herb salts

Salts with spices, herbs or flavorings are available in coarse or fine-grained form, in special containers or in the mill. In terms of taste, the palette ranges from fried potato salt to tomato and garlic salt.

It is worth considering whether each dish has to have its own salt on the shelf. Herbal or spice salts contain between 40 and 85 percent table salt and at least 15 percent spices or herbs.

Some salts are also available iodized.

Special salts

Salts from distant countries, with exotic names and melodious promises, are increasingly coming into the trade. Fleur de Sel, pink granules from the Himalayas or Persian blue salt, packaged in exclusive containers, are said to bring eternal youth and promote health. The Stiftung Warentest took a closer look at 36 of these gourmet salts. They all consist for the most part of sodium chloride, similar to simple table salt. There is no scientific evidence for the health effects with which the products are advertised. The only thing that consumers can really rely on with specialty salts are the steep prices.

Fleur de Sel (salt flower):

On hot, windless days, flowers of salt crystals form on the surface of the seawater basin. They are skimmed off by hand with a wooden shovel. Fleur de Sel tastes intense and has a delicate consistency.

Primal salt:

Finely or coarsely ground rock salt from Central European mines. Primordial salt only partially corresponds to pure table salt in terms of its composition. This is why the label is missing table salt on the packaging.

Danish smoked salt:

Salt from the Dead Sea, which is smoked cold over beech wood.

Hawaiian salt:

Sea salt with coloring from activated charcoal (black) or bamboo leaf extract (green).

Himalayan salt:

Rock salt with a pink color made from tiny algae residues. Instead of being mined at the foot of the Himalayas, it is actually mined in Pakistan.

To the article Himalayan salt

Store salt properly

Salt lasts almost indefinitely in glass and ceramic vessels. A best-before date is only required for iodized salt, because iodine degrades over time. The salt containers should be sealed as airtight as possible so that salt does not clump together. A few grains of rice in the salt shaker keep the salt dry and free-flowing for a long time. Herbal and spice salts are stored in the dark, in the kitchen cupboard or in opaque packaging. Metal cans are taboo for salt as they rust easily.

Salt and health

The minerals sodium and chloride regulate the body's water balance. They maintain blood pressure and tissue tension and ensure the transport of nutrients. Sodium is involved in building bones and facilitates the transmission of stimuli in muscle and nerve cells. As a component of gastric hydrochloric acid, chloride has an important function in the digestion of protein. The body excretes salt daily through urine, sweat and tear fluid.

The daily need for salt

Salt is vital and must be taken in with food. It is estimated that the body needs at least 1.4 grams of table salt per day.

The German Nutrition Society recommends that adults consume a maximum of six grams of salt per day.

This is roughly equivalent to a heaped teaspoon of salt. If you eat a bread roll (0.6 g salt) with two thin slices of salami (0.8 g) for breakfast, and a pair of wiener sausages (2.1 g) with French fries (1.3 g) and 2 tablespoons for lunch Tomato ketchup (1.2 g) tastes good, has covered its daily need for salt. If you lose a lot of fluids due to diarrhea, fever, heat and physical exertion, you should use a little more salt.

Is too much salt harmful?

If you consistently consume more table salt than necessary, you will not only get very thirsty. Eight grams of table salt bind one liter of water in the body. In some people, too much salt can lead to water retention (edema) in the tissue, which can lead to stomach cancer and high blood pressure. Excessive salt consumption also promotes bone breakdown and increases the risk of osteoporosis.

To the article high blood pressure

Eat and drink salt-consciously

Men consume an average of around 9 grams of table salt per day and women 6.5. If you like to eat fast food and first salt the food and then try it, the salt intake is 50 percent higher. Fresh fruit and vegetables, oatmeal, natural fish and meat or yoghurt are naturally low in salt. You can save salt by cooking food yourself, paying attention to the salt content when shopping and seasoning it with fresh herbs. Mineral water should not contain more than 20 mg of sodium per liter.

Keep an eye on the amount of salt

In the household you should know that a pinch of salt weighs 0.04, a knife tip 0.25, a level teaspoon 5 and a level tablespoon 15 grams.

Since the end of 2016, according to the new Food Information Regulation (LMIV), manufacturers have been obliged to indicate the salt content of packaged foods and dishes. If only the sodium content of the product is known, it is multiplied by a factor of 2.5. That gives the amount of salt.

Salt in foods

80 percent of the daily salt ration comes from processed foods. Bread and rolls provide the largest amount of this at almost 30 percent. One of the frontrunners here is the pretzel with 2.2 grams, whereas half a gram of salt in a slice of wholemeal bread is almost negligible. 20 percent of the salt eaten is hidden in meat and sausage products, and 7 percent in cheese. Much salt, the taste of which one has long since become accustomed to, is also found in ready meals and sauces, instant soups, canned vegetables, pickled fish, broth and snack items.

Salt as a luxury good

For a long time, salt was a valuable object of exchange for jewelry. The salt trade was considered a lucrative business, and many cities profited from the "white gold". Thanks to state-of-the-art salt production processes, salt has become an inexpensive everyday product. For the sake of health, salt could again be declared a luxury good. Because in the limitation lies the specialty.

  • German Nutrition Society
  • Salt in food: the biggest culprits of salt. - Investigation of the Stiftung Warentest (March 29, 2012) issue 04-2012
  • Table salt: The fairy tale of miracle salt - investigation by Stiftung Warentest (26.09.2013) issue 10-2013
  • Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety: Table salt
  • Strohm D, Boeing H, Leschik-Bonnet E, Heseker H, Arens-Azev√™do U, Bechthold A, Knorpp L, Kroke A for the German Nutrition Society (DGE) (2016) Salt intake in Germany, health consequences, and resulting recommendations for action. A scientific statement from the German Nutrition Society (DGE). Nutrition review 63 (03): 62-70
  • DGE opinion on salt intake

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