Himalayan pink sea salt is quickly becoming a popular culinary tool with a number of purported health benefits. We're here to break it down and investigate the myths and health claims associated with it. Read on for our take on this polarizing salt!
Himalayan salt is only mined in one specific place in Pakistan, the Khewra Salt Mine. Its distinct pink color is due to iron oxide being present in the salt, and it also contains small amounts of potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Himalayan pink salt has been steadily adopted by the mainstream as a substitute to table salt as well as in spas for body scrubs and the famous salt lamps. Lately, slabs of it have even been fashioned into use for food presentation and as a surface for cooking. Himalayan pink sea salt was historically used for food preservation, similar to other salts.
Himalayan pink sea salt is suggested as a natural alternative to table salt. This is actually true since it's less processed and does not contain the chemical additives of other salts; these could include anti-clumping agents, like magnesium carbonate or sodium aluminosilicate. We are happy to know that Himalayan salt is a more natural option for our tables.
As previously stated, the pretty pink color of Himalayan salt comes from the iron and other trace minerals it contains. It's a natural assumption that we could reap the benefits of those minerals through consumption. Unfortunately, they are present in such small amounts that there is no health gain from this salt.
Himalayan sea salt lovers claim that it has less sodium than traditional table salt or other variations of salt. This is untrue, as it contains about 98% sodium chloride just like regular salt. However, pink salt is saltier in taste, which means you can use less of it to season food! This is a great characteristic since too much sodium can lead to dangerous health issues like kidney problems, high blood pressure, and stroke.
Another Himalayan salt myth propagated by supporters is that it has a rich medicinal history. Salt, in general, had been used for centuries for medicinal purposes, but it was not specifically pink salt. And even now, it's important to consume the correct amount of sodium to maintain proper fluid balance, for muscle function, and to prevent low blood pressure. But again, these are not specific to Himalayan pink salt as the sodium source, so it cannot be considered a medicinal item.
Himalayan salt lamps have a reputation for providing respiratory benefits. However, this cannot be scientifically proven, despite numerous studies. So we must acknowledge that these advantages cannot be counted on, and consider this myth busted.
So overall, we've learned that Himalayan pink sea salt is a wonderful natural addition to any cook's pantry and is even saltier in taste than regular salt. Unfortunately, it does not have a rich medicinal history, provide respiratory help or offer any mineral absorption.