Salt? Sodium? What’s the Difference?

Are salt and sodium the same thing? Not quite. What you find in your salt shaker is sodium chloride, a chemical compound made up of 40% sodium and 60% chloride.


A drawing of a salt pot with sodium crystals on top

Who needs it?

Sodium is an essential nutrient, which means we all need a little to keep our bodies running smoothly. Sodium helps with important tasks like:
  • Regulating fluids
  • Balancing electrolytes
  • Absorbing nutrients and water1


Know your salts

Although all types of salt can increase our blood pressure if we eat too much, different salts have different flavours influenced by the minerals and other factors where they are found. The texture of some salts, such as the flaky crystals of fleur de sel, can also add a different sensory experience. Salts can even be smoked or roasted, like traditional Korean bamboo salt, to enhance flavours. It’s a delight to explore and experiment with a variety of different salts.
Flavoured & coloured salt
Salt can be used as a carrier for other flavours. A few options include celery salt, garlic salt, onion salt, or even herbally flavoured salts such as basil or rosemary salt.
Flavoured and coloured salt in a small bowl
Fleur de sel
Known as “flower of the salt,” this has the finest, most delicate flakes. Its specific harvesting conditions make it more costly to produce. It is typically used as a condiment, not a cooking salt.
Fleur de sel in a small bowl
Flake salt
Produced by surface evaporation, this super-light salt is easy to measure by hand, which helps the chef control how much is used. It adds a crunchy texture to foods.
Flake salt in a small bowl
Unrefined sea salt
This salt is created through the natural process of evaporating seawater. If not processed to remove impurities, it will contribute a lot of flavour and colour.
Unrefined sea salt in a small bowl
Kosher salt
Often used in cooking for its non-iodized flavour, its large crystals make it easy to add by hand. It is also used for the koshering meat process of Jewish dietary laws.
Kosher salt in a small bowl
Himalayan salt
This rose-coloured salt comes from salt lakes which evaporated over 250 million years ago inside caves in Pakistan. Protected from modern pollution, it is extremely pure.  
Himalayan salt in a small bowl
Did you know? Half the world's salt comes from the sea, and the other half comes from salt mines.
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  1. British Nutrition Foundation, Minerals and trace elements.