Himalayan Pink Salt Versus Table Salt

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Contrary to a popular belief, Himalayan pink salt is nutritionally similar to regular table salt, despite the fact that it contains more minerals.

Himalayan Pink Crystals: Image by Janice Weirgermia from Pixabay

Himalayan Pink Salt is mined in the Himalayan mountain regions of Pakistan It is believed the pink colour is due to the traces of iron and minerals (mainly magnesium, calcium and potassium) present in the salt crystals, as it is minimally processed for full flavour.

Table salt, on the other hand, is from the seawater, also as crystals, but contains fewer traces of minerals as the Himalayan Pink Salt. The Pink salt contains 84 minerals, but just about 2% of the salt actually contains these minerals. This simply means the health effect is not typically different from the regular table salt.

Himalayan Pink Salt is generally coarse. This means it contains more air pockets than processed table salt. The table salt, which with added anti-caking agent contains more sodium than the Himalaya Pink Salt. See the table below.

In essence, gramme for gramme, Himalayan Sea salt contains less salt content because of the air pockets, so in essence, a person will typically minimise his salt intake by using Himalayan Pink salt instead of the table salt. We must remember that too much salt intake makes the body retain fluid, giving the heart extra work to do. The impact of this on our heart health is high blood pressure. 

Himalayan Pink salt does not contain iodine, which is present in the regular table salt because of iodine fortification. If you only use Himalayan Pink Salt, then you will need to add iodine-rich foods (fish and dairy) to your meal, or use iodine supplement. Iodine is important for the production of thyroid hormone, an important hormone in the healthy metabolism, repair damaged cells as well as effective in the growth of the cells.

Himalayan Pink Salt normally undergo very little or no processing, whereas the normal table salt undergoes processing to remove impurities, grind to grains, and add iodine and anti-caking agent (so that it does not become solid hard rock, but free flow).

Both salt typically contains sodium chloride as ingredients. Sodium in salt is about 98% and plays important functions in muscle contraction, fluid balance and nerve functions.

Image by Keith Pearson PhD, RD from Healthline.com

Non-Dietary Uses Of Himalayan Pink Salt

Himalayan Salt Lamp — Some people have devised aesthetic use for the Himalayan Pink Salt, with the commercial claims that it can be used as an air purifier by removing negative ions from the room.

The lamp is made of the large solid rock of the salt with an inner electric lamp. The heat from the lamp is said to allow the salt to emit ions that cleanse and purify the room.

Himalayan Bath Salts — This again is a commercial claim that has no scientific back-up, that having the salt in your bath water relaxes your nerves and rejuvenate the body. Isn’t this what a relaxing bath is supposed to give you, with or without any bath salt?

Halotherapy — Himalayan Salt Sauna — This is another commercial gimmick that you can spend time in a cave carved out of Himalayan Pink Salt to improve skin, bronchitis, allergies and respiratory problems. This is by breathing in salty air in the cave.

A pilot study by PubMed on the effect of Halotherapy in 2016 is inconclusive.

Other Benefits Of Himalayan Pink & Table Salt

Increase Libido — There is a connection between salt intake and sexuality. A low salt intake reduces sex drive. Again this is true also of both types of salt, and it is believed it is the sodium content in salt that is responsible.

Makes You Have A Sound Sleep — This is true of both salt and not peculiar to Himalayan Pink Salt. A diet low in sodium can disrupt sound sleep. A poor sleep quality comes with its attendance health risk, including hypertension, constricts blood vessels illness, general debility and low immune function.

Precautionary Measure On Salt Consumption

Although it is agreed that sodium in salt, which is about 98% in salt is an important mineral in cells and nerve functions, it nevertheless has its risk, if consumed beyond the safe level. That is a million-dollar question, what is a safe level for salt?

How Much Salt Is Safe?

NHS England says adult should not consume more than 6gm per day. This is about 1 teaspoon and about 2.4gm of sodium. Remember sodium is a component of salt, so do not confuse the two. To convert sodium to salt, multiply by 2.5g.

Please note children and babies need separate amount which will depend on their ages. It is important to keep this in mind especially if cooking for the whole family.

Salt And Ageing

The impact of the body’s ability to get rid of the excess salt decreases with age. This could spell doom for the elderly in unnecessary retention of sodium in the body. This could result in high blood pressure, also known as hypertensive.

It was discovered that too much salt in the body can induce earlier cellular ageing and decay as well as kidney diseases.

Salt And Blood Sugar

High salt intake can induce high blood pressure. It is usual that high salt foods are also high in glucose, signifying high blood sugar level. High salt foods are common in ready meals and processed foods, which should be avoided or cut down to a minimum.

Salt And Stomach Cancer

There is a link of stomach cancer with high salt intake. In the UK, high salt intake accounts for about 14% of stomach cancer. The World Cancer Research Fund International says, too much salt damages the lining of the stomach, causing lesions if left untreated can result in cancer.

One reason to stay away from smoked foods, which are preserved with excess salt.

Simple Everyday Actions That Limits Your Salt Intake

Always eat freshly cooked foods instead of ready ones. This is because most ready meals are high in preservatives, the culprit being sodium glutamate, and this will naturally increase your salt intake.

Eat whatever is on your plate, without adding salt to it. The easiest way to do this is NOT to have salt on your table and to discipline your taste bud by eating your meal without adding any raw salt to it.

Look carefully at the food labels, and choose foods with lower salt contents. Do this all the time, even in snacks and drinks, yoghurts, etc. Always be conscious of whatever goes into your mouth.

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