The Different Types of Salt

Not all salts are created equal. They are all sodium chloride but come from different origins and undergo different processes.

1) Table Salt. I thought it was any ordinary table salt but it isn’t. It is mined rock salt, heavily processed to removed impurities and added with anticaking substance to avoid clumping.

2) Sea Salt. The usual salt in our kitchen. The square salt crystals we often see and buy from public market, from salt vendor via takal basis. It is made by evaporation of sea water which is easy to do as we are surrounded with sea.

3) Iodized Salt. Iron deficiency leading to mental retardation and endemic goiter lead to the invention of iodized salt. It is a common problem of people away from sea. Lack of seafood consumption which are iodine rich. Minute amount of iodine is added to salt. It is the choice as we always use it everyday but we never consume it in excess. We need iodine but we should never take too much. It comes in powder, instead of crystals.

4) Rock salt. It comes from salt mines, not from sea side salt factory. It is the mineral form of sodium chloride called Halite. Mostly colorless white but certain impurities changes its color to gray, yellow, orange, red, pink or purple.

5) Pickling Salt. A salt intended for pickling. Contains no iodine, anticaking agent and other additives. Iodine is unwanted for pickling purposes, it makes the brine dark and cloudy. It is finely ground to speed up brine making.

6) Kosher Salt. Same as table salt, sodium cholride, but without the iodine and other additives, with some small amount of anticlumping agent in some brands. It has flat platelet shape as it is forced to it under pressure. Usually larger than table salt. I guess it is a classier salt type, “Kosher”.

The Alkaline Salt.

Don’t be confused with the curing salt. It is a preservative and meat color enhancer. It is not used to make any food product salty. It is a mixture of table salt and sodium nitrite or sodium nitrate. The basic idea is the same with iodized salt. Prevent too much use and prevent consumption in case too much is added.

There are many other kinds of salts when it comes to technical chemistry. We will not dig out those.

Defining Mineral, Alkaline and Purified Water

She is pregnant and seems sensitive to spring water. Her stomach pain never occurred again since we started buying water from a refilling station.

It was our third refill. We chose the nearest refilling station on our way home. I was too tired that I never wanted to drive back. I wanted to immediately go home and take a nap.

I handed the water container to the staff. She asked me which water I wanted, mineral water or alkaline. I was speechless for few seconds. I was a bit confused. The other refilling station have never asked such thing. I just said mineral water, that is the popular thing I know.

They are selling three water types, 1) mineral water for 30 pesos/container, 2) alkaline water for 45 pesos/container, and  3) purified water for 35 pesos/container.

water container label

To clear confusion…

Mineral. Either natural or artificial, containing 250 ppm minerals. Water has the natural ability to dissolve minerals from rocks. Most water from Earth’s crust are mineral water. Artificial when loss minerals are added back with human intervention. Minerals are loss when passed through purification process.

Mineral water free of biological, physical and chemical contaminants is generally recommended for human consumption. Minerals are essential for healthy body.

Purified. Water is purified my means of one or several of the following treatments: distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis, carbon filtration, microfiltration, ultrafiltration, ultraviolet oxydation and electrodialysis.

The total dissolved solids should be less than 10ppm. Dirt, debris, viruses, bacteria, fungi, chemical contaminants as well as the minerals are loss. It is the water recommended for laboratory purposes where impurities might affect the outcome. Not suitable as drinking water cause it tend to wash away body electrolytes.

Alkaline or ionized. Water is subjected to electrolysis to change the neutral pH 7 to slightly alkaline, pH 8. Purified water cannot be subjected to ionization cause the process relies to magnesium and calcium ions.

Some debatable benefits of alkaline water:

1) Combat body pH imbalance. People tend to be more acidic due to too much consumption of acidic foods.
2) Makes the blood a better oxygen transporter.
3) Able to hydrate six times more than other water types thus preventing skin dryness and related skin disorders.
4) Aids in absorption of some vitamins
5) Improve food taste.

update as of june 30, 2012. Please read, “Ionized Water Might be a Hoax”.

Update as of May 2017

Alkaline water is produced through ionization. It is safe to say alkaline water is ionized water. The common process of production is through electrolysis. There are also weird filtration devices which claims to make alkalized water. Weird and I can’t understand yet how they work. If they really work, that is.

To briefly explain. Water consist of numerous water molecules. Counting is next to impossible. Each molecule has three atoms. One oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms. Under normal circumstances, water has neutral pH.

When water is electrolized, a molecule looses one hydrogen atom resulting to negatively charged hydroxide (OH-). The separated hydrogen then bonds with another water molecule to form hydronium, one oxygen holding three hydrogen atoms. It is the abundance of hydroxide that makes the water alkaline. The more hydroxide ions, the higher the pH.

The spread of news about its believed health benefits lead to birth of water stations selling alkaline water and businessman offering portable water ionizers.

Science tells negative ions are antioxidants while positives are free radicals. The first is beneficial while the last is harmful. So it is also natural for alkaline water to be marketed as antioxidant. There are many contradicting articles about it. I can’t determine who is telling the truth. Anyway, there is no harm in taking alkaline water, so drink to your heart’s content.

Ionization process only yields temporary results. The hydronium and hydroxide ions will eventually return to their original form within 18 to 24 hours. Alkaline water bought from water refilling station should be consumed within that period. It is still safe after that but the alkalinity you wanted is gone. Portable water ionizers, on the other hand, gives you freedom drink freshly prepared every time.

Did I forgot to mention water self-ionized? Maybe purified, mineral or alkaline doesn’t matter. Getting plenty of any everyday is more than enough.