Himalayan Salt: Is It Really Better Than Common Table Salt?

This article describes the health benefits of Himalayan salt and how it is compared to common table salt.

Himalayan salt in a bowl, big chunks of pink crystal on a wooden surface

You have heard of it on various occasions. You have seen it on supermarket shelves and even on dining tables. The pink-hued crystals glow invitingly under the light, making any delicacy more tantalizing. You guessed it right! It’s Himalayan salt. Ever wonder what makes the Himalayan salt pink, or the mineral content that is within these pretty crystals that could be beneficial to health? Here’s what you need to know before you make one of the biggest changes to your diet. 

Common Table Salt Versus Himalayan Salt

Different types of salt. Sea, Himalayan and kitchen salt on three wooden spoons against black background
Salts can elevate the flavour of food and provide great health benefits

The primary ingredient of table salt is sodium chloride. The World Health Organization recommends limiting daily consumption of sodium to 2g per person (approximately 5g of sodium chloride salt). Other components of common table salt are anti-clumping agents and iodine. Apart from these common additives, table salts are rather “pure” when you purchase them off the shelves. Also, other healthy minerals and micronutrients in table salt are usually negligible. 

Himalayan salt was first excavated from the Khewra salt mine in Pakistan, near the Himalayan Mountain ranges. Formed from dried up water bodies millions of years ago, these salt deposits are excavated by hand, and sold to consumers with minimal to no processing.

It is characteristically rich in iron oxide, which explains the pinkish hue of these salt crystals. Apart from iron oxide, other mineral salts like potassium, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and even molybdenum are also present in Himalayan salt. The health benefits of Himalayan salt compared with regular table salt are based on the presence of these minerals. 

The different types of salts and their characteristics

Minerals and Micronutrients in Himalayan Salt  

Yes, Himalayan salt contains more of the other minerals mentioned above, as compared to table salt, and some of these are essential micronutrients for our well-being. Additionally, Himalayan salt is more natural and does not contain additives, unlike table salt. However, these extra nutrients do not translate into better health outcomes such as lowering blood pressure.  

According to Nutritionist Salome Tham of Eu Yan Sang, Himalayan rock salt contains more minerals that are ten times more than refined salt and its sodium content is lower. However, one should not consume more than the recommended amount of dietary sodium per day. 

Is Himalayan Salt Suitable for You? 

Fine dining isn’t just about stimulation of the taste buds. Visual inputs heighten our anticipation of a pleasant bite, way before our tongue gets to scrutinize the flavour. The unique pink tone of Himalayan salt adds a classy touch to any food that it garnishes, be it over chocolate truffles or a generous slab of roasted steak. To those with discerning palettes, connoisseurs vouch for Himalayan salt and sea salt over table salt for their sophisticated aftertastes. 

Chocolate chip cookies with dark chocolate and sea pink Himalayan salt on a gray concrete background.
Top off your freshly baked chocolate chip cookie with some Himalayan salt for a savoury aftertaste

As there are no detrimental health effects associated with using Himalayan salt, there’s no reason why your pantry shouldn’t sport a bottle of this mesmerizing pink crystalline salt, ready to add a fine finishing touch to your culinary masterpiece. However, here’s a gentle reminder: Just don’t completely swap out your common table salt for Himalayan salt, as they are iodized to prevent iodine deficiency. Variety is the essence of a healthy good life. Sea salt works just as well providing a natural source of sodium chloride with a rich aftertaste and traces of micronutrients.

References

  1. Drake, SL., Drake MA. Journal of Sensory Studies. 2010. Comparison of salty taste and time intensity of sea and land salts from around the world. [Online] [Accessed February 2022]. 
  2. Loyola, IP., de Sousa MF., Jardim TV., et al. Arq Bras Cardiol. 2022.Comparison between the Effects of Hymalaian Salt and Common Salt Intake on Urinary Sodium and Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Individuals. [Online] [Accessed February 2022]. 

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