Celtic Salt: What You Should Know

Medically Reviewed by Zilpah Sheikh, MD on June 18, 2024
6 min read

There are many types of salt on the market today, ranging from the everyday salts like table salt and kosher salt to more artisanal ones like Himalayan salt. Now, there’s another one: Celtic salt. But what is Celtic salt, and should you use it?

Celtic salt is sea salt. It’s also called “sel gris” or “gray salt” because of its gray color, which comes from the extra minerals: magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc, and iron. A grain of Celtic salt is bigger than regular table salt, too. Another thing that sets Celtic salt apart from traditional salt that you see in the grocery store is that not all the water evaporates from Celtic sea salt when it’s processed.

Where does Celtic salt come from?

Celtic salt is gathered from coastlines after sea water has evaporated, leaving the salt behind. Originally Celtic salt was only sourced from the Celtic Seas near northwestern France, but now it’s sourced from other coastlines, too. 

Like other types of salt, Celtic sea salt is mostly sodium chloride, but it has trace levels of magnesium, potassium, calcium, and iron.

Not that long ago, another sea salt, Himalayan salt, became a popular addition to some kitchens. You may have read in some places that Himalayan salt is a rock salt because it is mined in a salt mine in Pakistan. However, Himalayan salt is really a sea salt like Celtic salt. The Himalayan salt mine exists where there used to be a sea. 

Himalayan salt is quite high in sodium chloride and has trace minerals. Himalayan salt has almost 420 milligrams of sodium in a quarter of a teaspoon – 18% of the daily value for a healthy adult. Celtic sea salt has more sodium, at 500 milligrams in a quarter teaspoon – 21% of the daily value. Interestingly, the American Heart Association says that because sea salt grains are larger, you’ll get fewer grains on your spoon – which means you may get less sodium overall from 1 teaspoon.

Table salt, the finer grind of salt that’s a staple in most kitchens, has even more sodium than Celtic salt and Himalayan salt: 590 milligrams in a quarter teaspoon – 25% of the daily value. But it has the added benefit of being fortified with iodine, which Celtic salt doesn’t have. Iodine is an essential nutrient but it’s not available in a lot of foods in a typical North American diet. By fortifying table salt, most people get the iodine they need.

Kosher salt has the least amount of sodium of the salts, with only 310 milligrams in a quarter teaspoon, making up only 13% of your daily value. However, it isn’t iodized as table salt is.

Is Celtic salt better than Himalayan salt?

There aren’t any studies that show that Celtic salt is better than Himalayan salt, but there are some small differences between the two. For example, Celtic salt has more calcium and magnesium. Himalayan salt, on the other hand, has the most potassium. That said, the amount is so small that there’s no difference in nutrition.

Celtic salt can be used as you would use any type of salt in your kitchen, especially as a finishing salt. Since it’s a larger grain, you’d need to use a salt grinder if you want to use it in cooking. Sea salts, like Celtic salt, don't dissolve easily, and they can change the texture or taste of your finished product.

Celtic salt also doesn’t have the “anti-caking” agents in it that most salts do. These agents keep food from clumping together. So Celtic salt doesn’t act the same as table salt when cooking or baking. 

Some people swallow Celtic salt with a glass of water to hydrate themselves. They believe the Celtic salt helps them drink more water overall. But experts say there are better ways to do so without consuming the extra sodium that comes along with the Celtic sea salts.

Celtic salt is also sold as sea bath salts for those who like to soak in the tub.

Some people believe that the higher levels of magnesium in Celtic salt help improve their hydration or to increase the other minerals. However, none of this has been proven. 

There are some studies that show soaking in a sea salt bath may help ease some skin conditions, like psoriasis and dry skin.

Is Celtic salt good for you?

Typically, the average American adult consumes far more salt than necessary – about 3,400 milligrams per day. The recommended amount is less than 2,300 milligrams – 1 teaspoon – per day. If you consume Celtic salt within the recommended guidelines, then Celtic salt may be good for you.

There are no specific Celtic salt side effects, but there can be side effects from consuming too much salt overall. Too much sodium increases your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

If you would like to buy some Celtic salt, you can find it in many local grocery stores, especially those  that have specialty sections, as well as specialty food shops and online distributors.

Celtic salt, a sea salt similar to Himalayan salt, is becoming increasingly popular. It has some trace minerals and is not quite as high in sodium as table salt. If you want to use Celtic salt in cooking or baking, there are differences from table salt. For example, the grain is larger and would need to be ground. It also doesn’t have the anti-caking agents that table salt does, so the texture of your food may turn out differently than what you expect. Overall, there don’t seem to be any specific benefits to using Celtic salt over any other type of salt.

What is special about Celtic salt?

Celtic salt comes from seashores and is a sea salt. It’s considered to be special because it has trace elements aside from sodium, like magnesium. It’s also gray in color, which is different from other salts.

Which is better, Celtic or Himalayan salt?

Both Celtic and Himalayan salts are sea salts. There’s little difference between the two – not enough to make one better than the other.

Is Celtic salt the same as sea salt?

Celtic salt is also called Celtic sea salt because it is gathered from the seacoast.

What is the healthiest salt in the world?

Some people claim that sea salt is healthier than table salt, but there aren’t any studies to prove that either way. One advantage that table salt has is that it’s iodized, which means iodine is added.

How can you take Celtic salt for high blood pressure?

High sodium intake is a common cause of high blood pressure. Taking Celtic salt might increase this risk.

What are the side effects of Celtic salt?

Consuming too much Celtic salt can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, or stroke.

Why put Celtic salt under the tongue?

Some people place some Celtic salt under their tongue and drink a glass of water, believing this will help hydration.

How much Celtic salt should you consume daily?

We need sodium in our diet but in limited amounts. The average healthy adult should consume no more than 2,300 milligrams per day. A quarter teaspoon of Celtic salt contains about 500 milligrams, so a full teaspoon would be close to your daily intake.

Why is Celtic sea salt so expensive?

Sea salts in general are more expensive than the regular supermarket salts because of how they are gathered or mined.

Does Celtic salt help with weight loss?

There are no studies that show Celtic salt can help with weight loss.