Salt 101


As numerous mentions of salt in the Bible would suggest, salt is an important part of history. Salt, or sal in Latin, so often seems to underlie what we do and who we are. Throughout the ages salt has been associated with many superstitions, such as the old English belief that each grain of spilled salt represents future tears. Salt has also taken on many quirky references, such as we take what we hear with a grain of salt, or we hope we’re worth our weight in salt.

A ¼-teaspoon-serving-size of table salt contains 590 mg of sodium. Americans typically consume about 3,400mg of sodium daily, far exceeding the government-recommended amount of 2,300mg. Since excess sodium consumption can be an issue for individuals with an increased risk for heart disease, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans have been recently updated to restrict sodium intake to 1,500mg per day for the following groups of individuals:

  • Anyone aged 51 and older
  • African Americans
  • Patients diagnosed with hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease

The amount of sodium and seasoning power contained in one teaspoon of salt depends on both the type and grain size of the salt. A teaspoon of kosher salt has less sodium than a teaspoon of table salt since kosher salt crystals are larger and less dense than finer-grained table salt. In recipes, table salt, kosher and both fine and coarse grain sea salt can be substituted equivalently up to 1 teaspoon.