Himalayan pink salt is a type of salt that comes from the mountains of Pakistan, specifically from Khewra, near the foothills of the Himalayas. In recent years, it has gained quite a bit of popularity, as a wide variety of health properties are attributed to it.
Some consider it “the purest salt on the planet” and claim it is much healthier than traditional table salt. How true is this? Can it help improve health? Below we detail the benefits of Himalayan pink salt and resolve these questions.
What is pink Himalayan salt?
As mentioned, Himalayan pink salt is extracted from a salt mine near the Himalayas. Its defenders point out that it is one of the purest salts on the planet, although these claims have been questioned.In its natural state, pure sodium chloride is white. Therefore, it is ironic to advertise it as the most refined salt when its same color hides such a claim. The same is true of Himalayan black salt, the second type of salt in the region. This is less well known, although experts have attributed antioxidant effects and essential minerals such as iron, calcium, and magnesium.
Speaking of sodium chloride, it should be noted that this is the main component of Himalayan salt. It also contains some 84 trace minerals, which is precisely why it is said to be a healthier salt.
However, some experts have also questioned and even denied this. Many of these minerals are in barely detectable amounts, so they don’t have a significant impact on nutritional health.
For example, a paper published in Foods 2020 evaluated the mineral composition of Himalayan pink salt marketed in Australia. The researchers found that, unlike conventional salt, it contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron. Similarly, some samples had aluminum, silicon, lead, and sulfur, non-nutritive minerals, and even dangerous for the organism.So, the presence of all these minerals is not a reason to say that this salt is “super healthy.” To benefit from the nutrients, they would need to eat six teaspoons daily, far from the FDA-recommended daily teaspoon. Remember that increasing your intake also increases the risk of adverse reactions associated with the non-nutritive minerals it contains.
Does Himalayan salt provide ten benefits?
The purported benefits of Himalayan pink salt led the product to start gaining popularity. Its distributors even took it upon themselves to sell it as a “healing” product that can improve health and quality of life. With no scientific evidence to back it up, Himalayan salt is said to help:
- Combat fluid retention.
- Regulate the pH of the blood.
- Increase nutrient absorption.
- Increase energy level.
- Improve vascular health.
- Reduce high blood pressure.
- Fight migraines.
- Soothe muscle cramps.
- Detoxify the body.
- Promote sleep patterns.
However, nutritionists and scientists have managed to deny many of the claims made in this regard.
Ramón de Cangas, dietitian and nutritionist, a doctor in Molecular and Functional Biology, and a member of the Spanish Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, explained to the newspaper El País, Spain, that Himalayan salt “provides the same amounts of sodium as a salt table.”
Therefore, according to the expert, the salt intake recommendations established by the World Health Organization (WHO) are applicable. As with traditional table salt, its consumption should not exceed 5 grams daily.
Remember that excessive consumption of this salt, like any other source of sodium, poses a series of health risks beyond an increase in blood pressure, as can be seen in research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
A question of marketing
Despite the popularity of pink Himalayan salt and its purported benefits, there is no evidence to show that it is healthier than regular table salt. There is also no guarantee of its “purity.” Much of its popularity is due more to marketing than science.
Therefore, investing in this type of salt can mean more expenses than benefits. It is much more expensive than traditional salt and must be used with the same precautions. In addition to its use in gastronomy, it is also sold for natural baths and other traditional medicine therapies. Naturally, the benefits of Himalayan pink salt have also not been endorsed in these contexts.