Pink Himalayan salt is often said to be the most beneficial as well as the cleanest salt available on this planet today. It has all kinds of nutritional and therapeutic properties, not to mention culinary uses. You can use it as a healthier option to processed salt. You can also use it to create homemade body scrubs and bath soaks, and you may have seen or owned a Himalayan salt lamp made from pink Himalayan salt. Historically, the people of the Himalayas have used this versatile salt to preserve meat and fish.
As scientific research has pointed out, “US Dietary Guidelines recommend a daily sodium intake 2300 mg, but evidence linking sodium intake to mortality outcomes is scant and inconsistent.” (1) The right salt in the right amount is actually very good for your health. Pink Himalayan sea salt contains over 84 minerals and trace elements, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and iron, so it does more than just make your food taste better. Let’s look at why you may want to make the switch to pink Himalayan salt for its impressive health benefits. Instead of skipping salt altogether, why not give it an upgrade?
What Is Pink Himalayan Salt?
Pink Himalayan salt is a truly unique salt. It’s also referred to as pink salt, Himalayan sea salt, rock salt and Himalayan crystal salt. This salt is classified as rock salt or halite, which comes from the Punjab region of Pakistan about 190 miles from the Himalayas. This region has one of the richest salt fields in the entire world, and they are very, very old. I’m talking Precambrian Age or over 4 billion years ago when planet Earth first formed! (2) With a history dating back to Earth’s creation, Himalayan salt is believed to be composed of dried remnants of the original, primal sea.
Himalayan crystal salt comes from salt mines 5,000 feet deep below the Himalayan Mountain Range. The salt from these mines has experienced tremendous pressure over millions of years and is said to be over 99 percent pure. (3) Pink Himalayan salt’s colour, as well as its colour variations, are indicative of its mineral content. Himalayan crystal salt can be pink, white or red in colour. As a salt, pink Himalayan salt is chemically sodium chloride (NaCl), which is defined as a “mineral substance of great importance to human and animal health.” (4)
Celtic sea salt is comparable to Himalayan crystal salt in its composition and health benefits, but it’s a completely different salt that comes from a different source (Brittany, France), has a different colour (greyish) and a different mineral makeup. Many Himalayan salt companies say that Himalayan pink salt contains 84 trace minerals, but there is debate that both contain 60 minerals. Either way, they’re both very rich in minerals.
In general, salt is essential for maintaining healthy functioning of the body’s cells, nerve conduction, digestion, as well as the absorption of nutrients and the elimination of waste products.
Why Is Pink Himalayan Salt Better than Table Salt?
Pink Himalayan salt is a much more balanced and healthy choice in comparison to common table salt. True, high-quality pink Himalayan salt is one of the purest salts you can find. It’s even typically mined by hand. This is very different from table salt that involves a great deal of unnatural interference. Table salt is very heavily processed, eliminating its minerals. Commercial table salt is typically 97.5 percent to 99.9 percent sodium chloride. Meanwhile, a high-quality unrefined salt like Himalayan sea salt is only about 87 percent sodium chloride. (6)
With most table salts, you’re only left with one mineral (sodium), some added iodine and most often some really health-hazardous anti-clumping agent like yellow prussiate of soda. Many commercial table salts also undergo a bleaching process and contain aluminium derivatives and other terrible ingredients known to be highly toxic to human health.
Top 5 Benefits of Pink Himalayan Salt
There are many awesome health benefits of Himalayan salt, with the following as some of my favourites.
1. Improves Respiratory Problems
According to the Lung Institute, salt is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, loosens excessive mucus and speeds up mucus clearance, removes pathogens in the air like pollen, and decreases IgE level (immune system oversensitivity). (7) If you Google “Himalayan salt cave,” you see that there are now salt caves made of Himalayan salt all over the country (and world) so people can experience the beneficial health effects, especially when it comes to the respiratory system.
There is actually a term for this type of natural treatment. It’s called halotherapy. Derived from the Greek word for salt, “halos,” halotherapy or salt therapy is the inhalation of micronized dry salt within a chamber that mimics a salt cave. Studies have shown halotherapy to be a highly effective drug-free part of successfully treating chronic bronchitis. (8)
2. Balances Body’s pH
Pink Himalayan sea salt’s rich mineral content can help balance your body’s pH levels. You may think this is no big deal, but when your pH has a healthy acid-to-alkaline ratio, it makes a huge difference in your overall health. A proper pH helps foster your immunity and encourage good digestion. Since pink Himalayan salt contains sodium as well as other electrolytes, it has a direct effect on the pH of your blood.
3. Natural Digestive Aid
You can use pink Himalayan salt to make your own sole, a saturated solution containing purified water and Himalayan salt. Sole is very similar to my salt water flush recipe, in which you can use pink Himalayan salt to help you obtain all the many possible benefits of a salt water flush.
According to natural health practitioners like Dr. Mark Sircus, an acupuncturist and doctor of oriental and pastoral medicine, a dose of sole each day can really help the digestive system in major ways. He says that “daily use of sole is believed to stimulate the peristalsis of the digestive organs, balance the stomach acid, support the production of digestive fluids in the liver and pancreas, regulate the metabolism and harmonize the acid-alkaline balance.” (9)
4. Air Purifier
When pink Himalayan salt is used to create a lamp, it just may provide your home or office with cleaner air. One of the main Himalayan salt lamp benefits is its supposed ability clean the air. How? By its inherent nature as a salt, the lamp (which is a block of pure pink Himalayan salt) attracts water vapour to it as well as air pollutants. The water vapour evaporates due to the lamp’s heat, but the dust and allergens remain in the salt instead of getting into your body. (10)
5. Better Sleep Inducer
Himalayan sea salt is said to help encourage better, more restful sleep due to its high mineral content. It may be hard to believe, but eating enough salt in your diet daily is actually key to a good night’s rest as a natural sleep aid.
Research way back in 1989 showed that low-sodium diets can cause disturbed and irregular sleep patterns. The study was small, but the results were very interesting. Subjects on low-sodium diets (around 500 milligrams a day) woke up during the night almost twice as often and got about 10 percent less sleep than those on a normal diet (2,000 milligrams of sodium a day). A high-sodium diet (5,000 milligrams a day) led to even longer sleep than the normal diet with fewer nighttime wakings.
As Dr. Michael V. Vitiello, the director of the Sleep and Aging Research Program at the University of Washington in Seattle, keenly points out, “low levels of sodium in the blood cause blood volume to decrease, and the sympathetic nervous system becomes more active in order to compensate. That causes sleepers to wake up more often and have difficulty going back to sleep.” (11)
I’m not encouraging you to go wild with the salt at your next meal, but it’s good to know that avoiding salt completely or not getting enough in your diet on a regular basis may cause or contribute to your sleep troubles.
Additional health benefits of Himalayan salt may include: (12)
- Regulation of the water levels within the body for proper overall functioning
- Helping reduce common signs of aging
- Encouraging healthy blood sugar levels
- Promoting cellular energy creation
- Reducing cramping (like leg cramps)
- Improving the absorption of nutrients from foods
- Aiding vascular health
- Lowering the incidence of sinus problems and promoting overall sinus health
- Providing circulatory support
- Improving bone strength
- Fostering a healthy libido
- Promoting kidney and gallbladder health in comparison to chemically treated table salt
History of Pink Himalayan Salt
As I said, the history of pink Himalayan salt is very, very long, dating back to Earth’s creation. Himalayan salt comes from the Salt Range, which is a hill system in the Punjab province of Pakistan. It gets its name from its extensive deposits of rock salt. Geologists are especially interested in the Salt Range because it contains the most complete geologic sequence in the world with rocks exposed in continual order from the early Cambrian Times (about 540 million years ago) to the Pleistocene Epoch (about 2.6 million to 11,700 years ago). (13)
The Salt Range is said to have gone untouched for millions of years until 1849. That’s when Dr. Warth, a British mining engineer, helped design and construct a tunnel into the Salt Range to reach the salt deposits. His “pillar and chamber” way of mining is a technique still used today that requires the removal of half of salt while the other half is left behind as structural support for the mine.
Fast-forward to current times. The salt mine now covers approximately 43 square miles and tunnels about a half mile into the mountain. How much salt is still there? The salt still in the region is estimated to be somewhere between 80 million tons to 600 million tons.
Pink Himalayan Salt Precautions
You should always store salt in an airtight, covered container in a cool, dry place to keep it at its best. Make sure your pink Himalayan salt comes from Pakistan, which is the only true source of real Himalayan salt. I would stay away from any “Himalayan salt” that’s sold at too low of a price. This may be a sign that the salt was collected from higher elevations rather from the deeper, more pure salt mines. The salts from these higher levels are more likely to contain impurities, which makes them less health-promoting.
Since pink Himalayan salt contains so many minerals, it’s more beneficial to the body, but as a salt, it’s still naturally high in sodium. So as with any salt, you don’t want to overdo it. Getting too much sodium in the diet (especially with not enough potassium to balance things out) can lead to high blood pressure for some people. It can also lead to a concerning buildup of fluid in people with congestive heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver or kidney disease. (14)
Final Thoughts on Pink Himalayan Salt
When used in moderation, salt really can be a healthy addition to your diet — especially if you make the upgrade to a pure, beneficial flavour enhancer like pink Himalayan sea salt. It can make so many meals that much tastier while also providing you with a boost of key nutrients and highly desirable health benefits. For instance, pink Himalayan salt benefits include improving respiratory problems, balancing pH levels, aiding digest, purifying air and inducing better sleep.
Pink Himalayan salt is definitely one of my top salt choices for both culinary and therapeutic uses. Have you tried it yet? Are thinking about making the switch from your current salt to Himalayan? I really hope you’ll love it as much as I do.