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Adding Salt in Coffee: What Science Says & Why To Try It

salt in coffee

Quite a few coffee trends are floating around the internet these days, but one of them stood out to us more than the others: salt in coffee. That’s right — people have started adding a pinch of salt to their morning coffee, and if you immediately question their sanity, keep reading!

You may have heard of Alton Brown, the now-famous food science and cooking expert. Well, he commented on an episode of his show, Good Eats, about why a little salt can go a long way in coffee. That got us wondering! Below, we’re going to go over the benefits of adding salt to your coffee so you can decide if you’ll give this coffee trend a try.

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Why Put Salt in Coffee?

Because Alton Brown said so! But really, he explains that salt naturally masks bitter flavors, and this claim is backed up by the results of this research article. The first benefit is that your cup of coffee will be less bitter and more drinkable. Most people dislike the bitter flavor that is common with drip coffee, so a pinch of salt may get rid of some of that unpleasant flavor.

Salt can also make water significantly more flavorful, which is good news for those who have coffee makers with water reservoirs. Water that sits in your coffee maker can have a stale taste that contributes to a lack of flavor in your coffee, and salt can brighten up and smooth out that stale taste you might be experiencing from old water.

salt in a spoon

Are There Any Health Benefits?

There sure are! According to this study published on PubMed, underconsumption of salt can lead to an increase in LDL cholesterol, which is commonly referred to as the “bad cholesterol.” Consuming an average or even slightly above average amount of sodium each day — around 2,500-3,000 mg — can help keep your LDL levels low.

While you may remember hearing that salt increases blood pressure and the risk of heart disease, this research paper concludes that restricting sodium consumption actually increases your risk of heart disease, and this research study states that reduced sodium can even lead to an increased risk of heart failure.

This study published on PudMed concluded that consuming below-average amounts of salt daily increases insulin resistance in humans. Insulin resistance is linked to a whole slew of severe health issues, so getting your daily recommended amount of sodium — even if it’s in your coffee — may help maintain overall health.

Lastly, adding salt to your coffee improves the taste pretty dramatically, and since many coffee drinkers add cream or milk and sugar to their coffee, adding salt instead can cut out sugar, fat, and a whole lot of calories from your daily cup.

SEE ALSO: What are the health benefits of drinking coffee?

Are There Any Health Risks Involved?

As is the case with just about every food, neither extreme when it comes to consumption is healthy. For those with a history of heart problems and high blood pressure, reducing salt intake does lead to slightly decreased blood pressure. Anyone with these issues should avoid high salt consumption and not add salt to their morning coffee.

This article from governmental health experts in Australia explains that eating (or drinking) too much salt can increase blood pressure and lead to significant health problems like heart issues, kidney failure, osteoporosis, and stroke.

pouring salt into coffee
Image: Alina Rosanova, Shutterstock

Is Adding Salt to Coffee a Good Idea?

Should you give this trend a try? That depends on a few factors. If you have existing health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, or a history of strokes, you should avoid adding salt to your coffee. Additionally, if you already eat a high-salt diet, adding salt to your coffee probably isn’t for you.

However, since a healthy amount of salt is necessary for our diets, providing us with electrolytes and reducing the risk of some significant health problems discussed above, a small pinch of salt in your morning coffee isn’t unhealthy for you as part of a balanced diet.

It’s also surprisingly delicious, and the salt does elevate the flavors we usually have in our coffee. It makes it smoother and more drinkable, and there’s a noticeable decrease in bitterness in salted coffee.

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Salty Coffee: Wrapping Up

Salt in coffee might sound strange, but it tastes pretty delicious. Salt masks bitterness that is common in some coffee, and it can make stale water used to brew coffee taste much better.

If you have existing health problems like heart disease or high blood pressure, or your doctor has recommended reducing your sodium intake, adding salt to your coffee isn’t advisable. However, if you maintain good health and have an average salt intake each day, salt in your coffee can replace sugar and cream, leading to an overall healthier cup. As long as you don’t have medical reasons not to try salt in your coffee, we say, “Go for it!” Add a pinch and see if you like it. You may be pleasantly surprised.


Featured Image: Unsplash


Dan Simms

Dan has been a coffee fanatic since caffeine became a necessity in college, and since then his enthusiasm has only grown. He has come a long way since his days of drinking mass-produced coffee, and he now has a love and appreciation of the entire coffee experience from farm to cup.

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