Pink Himalayan salt is considered to be one of the healthiest and purest salts in the world. Mined from the Khewra salt mines in the Punjab region of Pakistan, this pink salt is thought to be much healthier than table salt.
Let us learn more about Pink Himalayan salt and its numerous health benefits.
What is pink Himalayan salt?
Pink Himalayan salt is known by different names like pink salt, Himalayan sea salt, rock salt and Himalayan crystal salt. This salt comes from Punjab region in Pakistan which is around 190 miles from the Himalayas.
This salt is considered to be the dried remnants of the original primal sea. These salt mines which are 5000 feet deep below the Himalayan Mountain Range contain salt which is 99 percent pure and is free from all the modern environmental toxins.
Himalayan pink salt is chemically quite similar to table salt. Regular table salt is sodium chloride. This salt also contains 98 percent sodium chloride.
The rest is trace minerals like potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which give Himalayan salt its vibrant pink color. The color of the Himalayan salt can vary from white, pink and red, depending on its mineral content. These minerals also give this salt its unique taste.
Since pink salt is extracted by hand and is not chemically processed, so it is free of additives and is more natural than table salt.
How is pink Himalayan salt used?
Pink Himalayan salt is used in the same way as table salt. You can use it for cooking, seasoning and for preserving foods. Since Himalayan salt is also available as salt blocks, you can also use them as serving dishes and cooking surfaces.
These salt blocks are also used to make lamps, which are helpful in creating a calm and relaxing atmosphere. These Himalayan salt lamps also help in purifying the air and preventing symptoms of asthma and allergy.
Pink Himalayan salt is used by people as an alternative to bath salts so that they can soak up its minerals.
Why is salt essential for the body?
Salt is needed for many different functions in the body. It helps maintain healthy blood sugar, bone density, and circulatory health. We lose salt through urine and sweat, so it is important to replenish it in the body.
Salt is an essential component of almost all bodily fluids like blood plasma, lymphatic fluid, extracellular fluid and synovial joint fluid. It helps our cells absorb water and nutrients.
Salt also provides minerals and electrolytes that are essential to the nervous system and its ability to send messages between muscles and nerves.
Is pink Himalayan salt better than regular table salt?
Both pink Himalayan salt and table salt consist mostly of sodium chloride. But pink salt also contains 84 other minerals. These include potassium, calcium, iron, strontium, and molybdenum.
Table salt is usually processed to remove all impurities. Though it is fortified with iodine, bleaching and processing remove all its trace minerals.
Unfortunately, this ‘cleaned’ salt, which is 99 percent sodium chloride, is prone to clumping. So, additives are added to this salt to prevent clumping.
Pink Himalayan salt is said to be the purest salt on Earth. It is rich in minerals that help balance PH, regulate water content, prevent muscle cramping and help absorb nutrients.
According to the US dietary guidelines, we should take 5.8 grams of salt per day. An average American, on the other hand, takes about 9 grams of salt per day.
Himalayan salt has lower sodium content and more minerals, which may improve our health. One study compared the mineral content of different types of salt (1) –
|Mineral||Table salt (1 gram)||Pink Himalayan salt (1 gram)|
|Sodium||368 mg||381 mg|
|Potassium||2.8 mg||.9 mg|
|Magnesium||.0139 mg||1.06 mg|
|Iron||.0101 mg||.0369 mg|
|Calcium||.4 mg||1.6 mg|
Health benefits of pink Himalayan salt
Some marketers attach exaggerated claims about the benefits of Himalayan salt. Though not all these are true, adding Himalayan pink salt to your diet can have its advantages.
1. Improves respiratory problems
According to the proponents of salt therapy, salt has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that make it an effective treatment for respiratory problems.
Salt also helps loosen excessive mucous, speeds up mucociliary transport, removes pathogens and reduces immune system sensitivity (2).
Himalayan salt is increasingly being used to create salt caves where people with respiratory problems can improve their health. This treatment is known as halotherapy.
Halotherapy is quite an effective treatment for patients with chronic bronchitis, according to studies (3)
According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, when people with cystic fibrosis were exposed to hypertonic saline (salt water), their lung infection improved.
During a study, 35 patients with the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were given dry salt inhalers and were asked to use them up to 30 minutes per day. The results showed that dry salt inhaler therapy improved tolerance and quality of life in patients (4).
2. Balances body’s PH
Pink Himalayan salt contains many trace minerals which help in maintaining normal PH levels in the body. The optimal PH level of our body is 7.6 and maintaining this level is the key to good health.
Proper PH level boosts immunity and improves digestion. Certain minerals can help neutralize excess acids and improve the PH of the blood. Himalayan salt contains sodium and other trace minerals which is why people believe it is helpful in balancing the body’s PH levels.
3. Aids hydration
The sodium present in pink salt helps the body absorb and retain water. Our body is approximately 65 percent water. When we lose water, we feel lethargic and fatigued.
This is because in addition to the water we also lose minerals. In such cases having lemon water with pink Himalayan salt can work wonders.
Not only does sodium keep you hydrated, but it also provides your body with minerals that it may have lost due to sweat.
4. Improves digestion
Pink Himalayan salt activates salivary glands, which release amylase, an enzyme that helps in the digestion of carbohydrates. In the stomach, this salt stimulates hydrochloric acid, which further aids in the breakdown of food.
The best way to get digestive benefits of pink Himalayan salt is to make sole water out of it. To make sole water, fill one-fourth of a jug with Himalayan salt and top it up with purified water.
Let this mixture sit overnight so that the salt dissolves completely in the water. You can mix a teaspoon of this water in a glass of water and have it every morning.
According to natural health practitioners, daily use of sole water stimulates peristalsis of the digestive organs, balances stomach acid, helps in the production of digestive fluids in the liver and pancreas, regulates metabolism and maintains acid-alkaline balance (5).
5. Encourages better sleep
Pink Himalayan salt encourages a more restful sleep thanks to its high mineral content. In fact, having enough salt in your diet can be a sleeping aid.
According to Dr. Michael V. Vitello, the director of the sleep and aging research programme at the University of Washington, low levels of sodium in the blood can lead to low blood volume.
The sympathetic nervous system becomes active to compensate for low blood volume, and this causes sleepers to wake up more often.
However, people with high blood pressure should continue to keep their sodium intake low.
6. Purifies air
Himalayan salt isn’t just for eating. Lamps made from this salt are also very helpful in cleaning the air and preventing respiratory problems.
The Himalayan salt lamps attract water molecules which are laden with allergens, pollutants, and even bacteria and dry them out. The salt of the lamp traps the contaminants and releases the purified water back in the air.
This process helps to purify the air in your home.
6. Improves skin
Himalayan salt can be used in different ways to improve skin tone. You can use it your bathwater so that your body can absorb the minerals more effectively. Not only is this great for the skin, but it also provides relief to sore and cramped muscles.
Pink Himalayan salt also makes a great skin exfoliator. Mix a few of these salt crystals with olive oil or coconut oil and use it as a scrub. This mixture will make your skin smoother and softer.
Risks of Himalayan pink salt
1. Low iodine content
The table salt we have regularly is fortified with iodine. Though pink salt may contain iodine, it is usually much lesser than iodized salt.
So, those people who have an iodine deficiency or are at risk for developing one should ensure that your get their iodine from another source if they are using pink Himalayan salt.
2. Sodium intake
Though Himalayan salt may contain many minerals, it is still 98 percent sodium chloride. So, if you have kidney, heart or liver issues or have been asked to be on a low sodium diet by your doctor, you should lower your intake of salt, including pink salt intake.
3. Sodium can lead to health issues
Many health conditions like stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, liver damage, osteoporosis and kidney disease are linked to high sodium intake.
Having too much salt can also lead to autoimmune diseases. A 2015 study also linked high salt intake to obesity (6). So you must limit all kinds of salt intake.
Where can you buy Himalayan salt?
You can buy Himalayan salt from grocery stores, health food stores, and online stores. Make sure you purchase Himalayan crystal salt which is a gold standard, to ensure that you get the best quality.
Make sure you buy salt that is sourced from Pakistan, which is the only genuine source of pink Himalayan salt. Always store Himalayan salt in a cool, dry place in an air-tight container.
Final words on pink Himalayan salt
Salt plays a vital role in many of our bodily function. Pink Himalayan salt contains many essential minerals which add to the beneficial qualities of salt.
It helps improve respiratory problems, balances the body’s PH levels, improves sleep quality, aids hydration, and improves digestion. However, you should use it in moderation to avoid health risks like hypertension and liver damage.