Pink Himalayan Salt and its Health Benefits

4.3
Pink Himalayan Salt and its Health Benefits

Pink Himalayan salt is a rock salt from the Punjab region of Pakistan near the foothills of the Himalayas.

Some describe pink salt as one of the purest salts and say it has numerous health benefits.

But does this pink salt deserve its place among "healthy" salts? This article explores the potential benefits of this exotic salt.

What is pink Himalayan salt?

Pink Himalayan salt is chemically similar to table salt. It contains up to 98% sodium chloride.

The remaining salt consists of trace minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium. This gives the salt a light pink color.

These minerals also explain why Himalayan salt has a different taste than regular table salt.

Pink Himalayan Salt and its Health Benefits

How is it used?

Pink Himalayan salt is chemically similar to table salt. It contains up to 98% sodium chloride.

The remaining salt consists of trace minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium. This gives the salt a light pink color.

These minerals also explain why Himalayan salt has a different taste than regular table salt.

Why does the body need salt?

Sodium is an essential trace mineral found in salt. The body needs it to perform various functions.

It can support:

• Muscle contraction and relaxation

• Maintain proper fluid balance and prevent dehydration.

• Send impulses to the nervous system.

• Prevent hypotension.

Recent studies show that eating salt reduces the risk of infection and can kill harmful bacteria.

An animal study led researchers to conclude that salt can have a positive effect on depression symptoms.

Benefits and myths

Various claims are made about the health benefits of using pink salt. This includes:

Rich mineral content

Some sources say that pink Himalayan salt contains 84 different trace minerals.

Since it contains up to 98% sodium chloride, this means that only 2% is made up of these various trace minerals. Given that people generally consume relatively limited amounts of salt, and the low levels of these minerals in salt, it is unlikely to provide any measurable or significant health benefits.

Lower sodium

Some people believe that pink Himalayan salt has less sodium than regular table salt. However, both types are about 98% sodium chloride.

Because pink salt crystals are usually larger than table salt, it technically has less sodium per teaspoon. It tastes even saltier than table salt, meaning a person can use less salt per serving to achieve the same taste.

However, pink salt also has a smaller particle size and looks like regular salt. Consider this when measuring food taste and sodium content.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that more than 75 percent of sodium intake comes from salt in prepackaged and processed foods. Table salt does not add much of the sodium content to food.

A more natural salt

Some claim that salt is more natural than table salt. This argument seems plausible.

Table salt is usually highly refined and mixed with an anti-caking agent, such as sodium aluminosilicate or magnesium carbonate, to prevent caking.

Himalayan salt is less synthetic and usually has no additives.

An aid to hydration

Some people believe that adding a pinch of pink salt to food or drinks can help the body achieve optimal fluid balance and prevent dehydration.

Sodium is actually essential for maintaining proper fluid balance. However, so do other sources of sodium, as well as pink salt.

Risks and considerations

Bear the following points in mind if using pink Himalayan salt:

Iodine intake

Iodine is a mineral that the body needs to maintain normal thyroid function and cellular metabolism. Important sources of iodine include fish, sea vegetables, dairy products and eggs.

Iodized salt is another common source of this trace mineral. About 75 percent of American households use iodized salt.

Although pink Himalayan salt may contain some iodine naturally, it most likely contains less iodine than iodized salt. Therefore, people who are iodine deficient or at risk of iodine deficiency may need to obtain iodine from elsewhere if they use pink salt instead of table salt.

Sodium intake

Sodium is essential for life, but it's also important to watch any salt intake. Although sodium is needed in small amounts, too much can have negative health effects.

People with kidney, heart, or liver problems, or those on a sodium-restricted diet, should watch their sodium intake and limit all salt, including pink Himalayan salt.

Even healthy people need to monitor their sodium intake. A 2016 report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that more than 90 percent of children and 89 percent of adults are consuming more sodium than recommended.

Too much sodium

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that people consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day. This is equivalent to about 1 teaspoon of regular table salt per day.

People with high blood pressure should limit sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams per day. Talk to a dietitian to identify dietary changes that can limit sodium intake.

Salt contains 40% sodium. When you know your sodium intake, it can be helpful to know how much sodium is in a certain amount of salt.

Certain quantities of salt contain the following amounts of sodium:

• 1/4 teaspoon salt: 575 mg sodium

• 1/2 teaspoon salt: 1,150 mg sodium

• 3/4 teaspoon salt: 1,725 mg sodium

• 1 teaspoon salt: 2,300 mg sodium

Most people spend much more than that.

When people eat more sodium than they need, their kidneys try to excrete the excess sodium through their urine. If the kidneys do not excrete enough sodium, it begins to accumulate in the fluid between the cells, called interstitial fluid.

This can increase water and blood volume, putting extra strain on the heart and blood vessels.

Many serious health conditions are linked to high sodium intake, including:

• high blood pressure

• heart disease

• stroke

• liver damage

• osteoporosis

• kidney disease

Too much salt can lead to autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and psoriasis.