The Truth About Himalayan Pink Salt

Himalayan pink salt

To a lot of people, Himalayan pink salt is just that: salt. There is nothing special about it aside from the fact that it is naturally colored pink. What real benefits could it have in a world where salt is treated as a bad thing?

Himalayan pink salt is found, you guessed it, in the valleys of theHimalayas, deep within crystallized sea salt beds. These salt beds were covered in hardened lava millions of years ago, but are now covered in ice and snow. The combination of these two environmental factors is thought to have protected the salt from modern pollution, creating the belief that this pink salt is one of the purest salts on the planet. Isn't that a romantic idea?

Now, there is a lot of controversy over whether or not this is true, but one thing we can't argue with is that the mineral analysis of this salt shows the bad mineral content is lower in comparison to processed table salt, while the good mineral content is higher than table salt. Any mineral content that is <0.001 ppm shows an undetectable amount due to most analysis' having a deviation of <0.004 ppm.

But, Isn't Salt Bad?

is salt bad

We live in a world where salt is made out to be the bad guy even when there's no science to back it up. Low-sodium diets are pushed around and marketed, chemicals are poured into food products to act as “salt-substitutes” all while the real thing is no where to be seen. Table salt is salt, yes, but it has been chemically processed to the point that it no longer has the beneficial nutrients that real, unrefined salt has. There are even studies that have been done concluding that a low-salt diet is actually worse for you than a high-salt one. Low-salt diets increase your risk of hypertension (high blood pressure) in those not susceptible, and even the risk of heart disease.

How Did It All Begin?

The controversy around salt and low-sodium diets began around the early 1900s when a French doctor reported that several of his patients came to him with high blood pressure, which was a known risk factor for heart disease. The common link in these patients were that they were all salt fiends, or people who liberally sprinkled salt on everything they consumed, and often times ate salt by itself. In the 1970s, Dr. Lewis Dahl bred two rats over a period of time, giving one nearly lethal doses of sodium chloride (table salt) and the other a lower amount. Over several generations, the offspring of these rats developed genes that were susceptible to hypertension when fed high-sodium diets, and the other developed genes that were not.

In the 1970s, Dr. Lewis Dahl bred two rats over a period of time, giving one nearly lethal doses of sodium chloride (table salt) and the other a lower amount. Over several generations, the offspring of these rats developed genes that were susceptible to hypertension when fed high-sodium diets, and the other developed genes that were not.

A multi-year study concluded that the rats who were given the higher doses were more susceptible to hypertension (high blood pressure) than the ones who were not.This, of course, led to the conclusion that some people are more susceptible to hypertension induced by high-sodium diets than others. Salt was then declared a major contributor to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases. A higher intake of dietary potassium has since proven to remedy this, and in addition, a low-sodium diet has not proven to reduce the risk of other cardiovascular diseases – in fact, there is evidence to support that it may even increase your risk of other cardiovascular problem.

This, of course, led to the conclusion that some people are more susceptible to hypertension induced by high-sodium diets than others. Salt was then declared a major contributor to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases. A higher intake of dietary potassium has since proven to remedy this, and in addition, a low-sodium diet has not proven to reduce the risk of other cardiovascular diseases – in fact, there is evidence to support that it may even increase your risk of other cardiovascular problem.

That's a quarter of one of these!

The levels of sodium used in this experiment to breed rats that were salt-susceptible were much higher from what an average human should ever eat. The lethal dose to a rat is 3,000 mg, which translates to over 12,000 mg of salt for a human.
(Think about how hard it would be to sit down and start eating from a bulk box of table salt!) 

The average American's salt intake through junk food and other processed foods equals up to 3,400 mg. With a healthy diet, there's no reason to be afraid of sprinkling a little extra salt on your food, especially if it is a true salt, and not refined table salt.

Unrefined Salts

unrefined salts

Unrefined salts are the pure form of salt. There are various forms of salt from Celtic salt, harvested from the Celtic sea, your average sea salt which is harvested by evaporating sea water, Himalayan Pink salt and many others.

A good rule of thumb is this: the darker your salt, the more minerals and trace elements it will have in it. Unfortunately, this also means that many sea salts may also contain traces of heavy metal minerals thanks to pollution. This is why many people will opt for Himalayan Pink Salt, as we discussed earlier in the article, it is considered one of the purest forms of salt on the planet.

Below is a comparison of different salts when it comes to a few key minerals. Maldon salt is another name for your average sea salt. Table salt has been refined and processed so it no longer has those vital minerals.

salt content chart

The Bottom Line: 

What many people don't understand when it comes to salt, is that it is an essential nutrient your body needs to function properly. Salt helps your brain and nervous system send electrical impulses and communicate with the rest of the body. These are central functions – our bodies need salt like they need water.

The bottom line when it comes to salt is this: stick to a healthy diet, avoid processed foods, and you don't have to feel guilty about sprinkling that extra salt onto your food. Switch to an unrefined salt and you will be able to absorb natural minerals from it as well, instead of eating a processed filler by the name of table salt.

The problem lies in simply eating too much salt. By too much, we mean consuming more than 0.4 ounces of salt at a time. That's a huge amount of salt, and your body wouldn't be able to process that efficiently.