The U.S. is shifting in a healthier direction by offering a variety of nutritious choices, including even simple ingredients like salt. For example, there is regular table salt, sea salt and Himalayan pink salt. Of particular focus recently, Himalayan pink salt is being advertised as superior to other salts. Tom Brady's diet includes this type of salt, and it's likely to be on the table at trendy restaurants.
But do the purported benefits of Himalayan pink salt live up to the hype? STACK investigates.
Sodium, which makes up a part of salt, is an essential mineral with a variety of functions, such as maintaining blood pressure and hydration levels. It is crucial to consume enough sodium, especially when you work out for prolonged hours or in a hot environment. But though it's essential for many health benefits, too much sodium in your diet can be detrimental. If you are an athlete and fall into this category, it can limit your performance and leave you dehydrated.
Benefits of Himalayan Pink Salt
The chemical makeup of Himalayan pink salt is different from standard table salt. Because it is unprocessed, it contains more minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron, all of which are essential for health and can enhance athletic performance—especially if you lack them in your diet. It also contains less sodium than table salt. If you need to cut your sodium consumption to maintain healthy blood pressure, pink salt may be a good option. Other potential health benefits of Himalayan pink salt include relieving muscle cramps, dizziness, low energy and nausea.
Unfortunately, however, the purported benefits of Himalayan pink salt are backed by limited research. The top nutrition journals in the world have published no studies of its benefits when consumed by itself or compared to other salts. This feeds skepticism about claims that it supports healthy respiratory function and increases bone strength. Although it does contain more minerals than table salt, if you're getting those minerals through your diet, the amounts obtained in pink salt will have few if any positive effects on your health and performance.
Due to its added mineral content and lower sodium, Himalayan pink salt can be used as a healthier alternative than table salt in cooking. But many statements about its benefits remain unsupported by research. It is difficult to determine if the claimed benefits are real. Adding pink salt to your diet may be beneficial, but with little research to prove the benefits, it may not be worth the money—especially if you are following a healthy and variable diet. Remember, it's still salt and not some magical substance that you can load on your food without consequence.
- Drake, S.L. and Drake, M.A. (2011). "Comparison of salty taste and time intensity of sea and land salts from around the world." Journal of Sensory Studies, 26.1, 25-34.
- Franzsen, S., & Komesaroff, L. (2016, February 16). "Benefits of Himalayan Pink Salt." Retrieved June 30, 2016, from http://www.wildpatch.com.au/benefits-of-himalayan-pink-salt/
- Group, E. (2009, May 15). "The benefits of Himalayan Salt." Retrieved June 27, 2016, from http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/himalayan-crystal-salt-benefits/
- Gunnars, K. (2016, May). "Types of Salt: Himalayan vs Kosher vs Regular vs Sea Salt." Retrieved June 27, 2016, from https://authoritynutrition.com/different-types-of-salt/
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