Wait, is that sand in my Real Salt??

Most weekends we treat our kids to waffles using grandma’s old recipe. One Sunday, my visiting niece watched us mixing up the batter and asked, “Why is your flour dirty?” It took a second to realize that she wasn’t used to seeing our freshly-ground wheat flour, and compared to her family’s bleached white flour, ours definitely looked “dirty.”  She wasn’t convinced, but we explained that even though real flour looks and tastes a little different from white flour, it’s actually better for us.

If you were to pay a visit to Real Salt’s customer service department, you wouldn’t have to wait long before someone calls with a similar question: Why is Real Salt dirty?  Is there sand in Real Salt? Why doesn’t Real Salt dissolve completely like other salt? The short answer to all these questions is the same: This is what salt really looks like when nature makes salt.

Trace minerals

Just like minimally-processed flour is healthier than “normal” white flour, Real Salt is healthier than other salts because of the things we don’t take out of it. Real Salt is 98% sodium chloride and 2% trace minerals, and it’s these 60+ trace minerals that make Real Salt real. Some of these minerals don’t dissolve in water, but they are bio-available (your body can absorb and use them as nature designed) and are good for your health.

What about other healthy brands?

There are two other brands of sea salt that have trace mineral content similar to Real Salt–Celtic from France, and Himalayan from Pakistan. Some people notice that these brands dissolve more completely in water than Real Salt, and wonder why. (We compared other differences between Real Salt and Celtic or Himalayan a little while ago.) Most of these granules that don’t dissolve are the trace mineral silica, an element that occurs naturally in healthy bones and joints.

Wait, did you say silica?

Yep, silica. If you’re asking, you probably remember learning that silica most often appears in nature as sand–like iron and magnesium, silica is one of those things our bodies use to stay healthy even though it seems a little strange to think of eating it. When people ask if there’s sand in Real Salt we sometimes answer, “Yes! Isn’t that wonderful?”

The health and science community recognized silica as an essential trace element in the early 1970’s, and studies since then have indicated  it can perform two important tasks in our bodies: it can help calcium do its job and prevent osteoporosis, and it can prevent aluminum from contributing to Alzheimers. (Read a long article detailing these and other benefits, which include stronger hair, nails, and skin.) In other words, silica is just another of the beneficial trace minerals that Real Salt users love for their flavor and health benefits.

Healthy, “dirty” salt

My niece never came around to liking our “dirty” flour, and we know that some people won’t appreciate insoluble trace minerals like silica in Real Salt, either. But we believe in the health benefits, and it’s part of what has made Real Salt the best-selling salt in health food stores across the country.  Changing our process to eliminate or reduce insolubles would only mean changing one tenth of one per cent of the product, but we’d be making Real Salt less healthful–and less real–in the process.

Join the discussion 22 Comments

  • Rey Huber says:

    I am looking to stock up on salt for survival food storage. I want both salt for cooking as well as salt blocks to attract animals. I am looking for salt for 20 adults for 1 year supply. I wonder if you can give a price break for a large quantity purchase. I am from Delta, Utah and have used your salt for years. Can you give me an idea as to how best to provide for my family salt needs in case of calamity?

  • Real Salt Real Salt says:

    Hi Rey, look for an email from us soon!

  • John Hinaru says:

    Is Realsalt really a sea salt? Is it organic,pure and unrefined? I have tested the pH level of himalayan salt,black salt and three other brands of sea salt –they are all ALKALINE… Minerals are alkaline.How come realsalt is acidic?

  • Holly says:

    So, are these trace minerals what I crunch down on in my bread or other items? I know the little colored particles don’t dissolve in the liquids in my recipes.


  • Real Salt Real Salt says:

    Those are trace minerals, Holly, including silica. Hopefully the post you commented on is thorough enough to explain it.

  • Mike says:

    I am also interested in Real Salt for survival food storage purposes. And also for the same uses above, ie cooking, food seasoning and animal use. Could you please send me some information regarding bulk purchases?

    Thanks in advance!

  • Christy says:

    When you say trace minerals don’t break down in liquid….is the consistency of these particles like salt or sand?

  • Real Salt Real Salt says:

    Christy, in a cup of water, where it’s easiest to see what we’re talking about, some of the insoluble trace minerals look like grains of sand, and some look like grains of salt. (And of course, most of Real Salt is soluble, so it isn’t visible at all.) In recipes and on food, though, I’ve never noticed either sand or salt texture — just great flavor.

  • Real Salt Real Salt says:

    Mike, the great news about storing Real Salt is that it will last forever (as long as it stays dry.) We have a convenient 25 lb bag and 10 lb bucket of granular Real salt that works great for storage. Right now, online orders over $35 dollars ship free, so this can be a great way to stock up.

    Some customers looking to stock up their food storage pool their orders together and order more than 500 lbs of Real Salt at once; for these groups we offer an additional discount, but the free shipping would not apply. You can call our customer service team for details at 800-367-7258.

    Sorry for the delayed response, Mike!

  • Willie says:

    Can real salt be used for making brine for pickling and smoking purposes?

  • Real Salt Real Salt says:

    John, you get the award for the most tardy reply on the blog. We had a configuration error — we didn’t mean to ignore your question!

    So, taking your questions one at a time: Real Salt is really a sea salt, from an ancient sea bed that geologists place in the Jurassic period — about the same age as the Himalayan salts that come from Pakistan. It is pure and unrefined, and it’s listed as an organic ingredient by the Organic Materials Review Institute.

    Some minerals are alkaline (e.g. calcium, magnesium, potassium) and others aren’t (e.g. phosphorous, iodine, silicon). When nature combined alkaline sodium (Na) and acidic chlorine (Cl) to create salt, you have a strong acid and strong base (NaCl) with a combined pH of 7. The FDA requires all food salt to be at least 97% NaCl, and the remaining 3% may influence the pH balance slightly — in our testing, Real Salt consistently has a pH a little higher than 7, which is just slightly alkaline. Some salt companies will add alkaline water to boost their pH, or evaporate and then harvest the salt from clay beds (gray, black, and red salts often do this) which will change the original pH.

    Of course our bodies need both acidic and alkaline minerals, and we bring Real Salt to you exactly the way nature made it, without trying to outsmart nature in order to chase a certain pH score.

  • Real Salt Real Salt says:

    (So many tardy replies — forgive us for a configuration error that kept us from seeing your comments!)

    Willie, if you’re going to smoke, I suppose there are worse things than Real Salt to put in your pipe…

    Only joking! Real Salt makes a great brine. Unless your recipe tells you otherwise, you can reach maximum salinity (about 26% sodium chloride) using 8 ounces of Real Salt per pint of water. A lot of Real Salt fans order in bulk online when they brine — you can save a lot of money with 10-pound buckets, and buying a bulk bucket gets you free shipping.

  • Marc G says:

    I have been using Real salt for many years and love it but, the other day I heard something about regular salt and that is that in salt there is sand and glass and what happens in the body is that the shards of glass put cuts in the artery’s and make them bleed then cholesterol comes to save the day to stop the bleeding..and this causes hi cholesterol and high blood does Real salt contain sand and glass also ??????????

  • Real Salt Real Salt says:


    We’ve heard a lot of interesting theories about salt, but the one you heard is new to us! We’ve never heard of any brand of salt–even the cheapest, most processed yucky stuff–containing glass. I’m no doctor, but if an artery were damaged the body may react by adding platelets that could lead to internal scarring, but I don’t think that’s the way cholesterol works, either. And processed salt’s relationship to blood pressure is actually to do with water retention and kidney function, which is why we’re glad to hear so many Real Salt customers tell us that Real Salt is the only brand of salt they can use that doesn’t hurt their blood pressure readings.

    If you need more information, or if you want to provide the source of the material you’re asking about, feel welcome to contact our customer service group. Thanks for the question!

  • Joye Esch says:

    Can Real Salt be fed to animals? My horse needs a tablespoon a day, would this be fine for him to have? Or is table salt better?

  • Real Salt Real Salt says:

    Hi Joye. My goodness, I’m glad you asked! Some people might think, “it’s only a horse, what does he care?”, but I’m guessing most of those people aren’t horse owners. Chemically processed table salt isn’t good for anyone, four legs or two, and horses, I’m sure you know, are picky eaters. The bitter flavor that comes with processed salt isn’t going to excite him!

    You certainly could feed Real Salt to your horse, and he’d love it. But our parent company has an equine division that would probably make him even happier; since you want to ration the amount, look into their Daily Red product. Check them out on the Redmond Equine site, and tell your horse we say, “you’re welcome!”

  • Shirley says:

    Can you please tell me, is iodine one of the minerals that your salt provides? Also I’m wondering about the silica in your salt, could those gritty particles cause, over time, wearing down of the enamel on teeth? I know that they say that stone ground flour sometimes contains gritty particles that have that effect on teeth.

  • Real Salt Real Salt says:

    Shirley, we don’t add anything to Real Salt, but nature did include some iodine. This entry should answer your questions about iodine.

    As for your tooth enamel, it’s not likely to cause a problem. (In fact if you’re looking for natural toothpaste, Earthpaste actually includes Real Salt in its short list of ingredients!)

  • Denise Tuttle says:

    I need food storage salt. Where can I buy it for bulk and what would you suggest? I live in Idaho Falls.

  • David says:

    I will never forget the Real Salt folks for what they did for us in Iraq back in 2004. I put in an order for some Real Salt, knowing that with the harsh environment and all the nasties that the coalition forces bombarded this place with, I needed as many nutritional advantages as I could muster for my health. These people sent not only my order, but more of every product they carry to share with others I was serving with. Talk about a company with Heart! Thank you, Real Salt for everything you did for us!

  • Amy salas says:

    Does Himalayan salt have particles like glass! I added salt in my lemon water and kept chewing tiny particles like glass?

  • gwenh says:

    Hi Denise, you can purchase Real Salt in bulk directly from us. Here’s a link to our web store. You can also purchase Real Salt on Amazon. Here’s a link to our Amazon store.

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