Salt is an important aspect of our daily diet. Sodium ions found in salt is essential for pumping fluid into the cells, maintaining an ideal pH balance, contracting muscles, and relaying nerve messages.
According to the FDA, the average person should consume a maximum of 2,300 milligrams of salt each day. Obeying this guideline will help to avoid sodium toxicity and high blood pressure.
When you think of salt, the conventional white table salt likely comes to mind first.
Table salt is a common household staple with a bad reputation for its highly refined characteristics. That’s why many health nuts switched to its coarser, crunchier cousin – sea salt.
Now, Himalayan salt has entered the scene as the latest nutrition trend, but is there really any difference?
What is Himalayan Salt?
As its name suggests, Himalayan salt is harvested from the Himalayan mountain range, which lies across the Asian continent from China through Pakistan.
Many millions of years ago, the salt beds in the Himalayas were covered in lava and protected from pollution. For this reason, Himalayan salt is often lauded as the most pristine salt on the planet. It’s hand-mined in the mountains and shipped right into the culinary market with little processing.
Himalayan salt consists of around 85% sodium chloride. Since it has small amounts of iron oxide, the Himalayan salt features a striking pink color. Hues of red and white clearly indicate the salt’s energy-rich content.
There are also over 80 other minerals found naturally within Himalayan salt, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and iron.
Himalayan Salt vs Sea Salt
Sea salt is produced by simply evaporating seawater from our oceans. Sea salt is very similar to table salt in that it’s predominantly made from sodium chloride with little nutrient value.
Some minerals like iron and potassium can be found in sea salt, but at smaller levels than Himalayan salt. Sea salt also comes with the risk for heavy metals thanks to marine pollution.
Even though Himalayan salt comes from the mountains, it’s technically a sea salt too. Salt mines in the Himalayas were originally created from salted bodies of water. However, the real difference comes in its purity, nutritional value, and digestive properties.
Over 80% of sea salts are now refined, but Himalayan salt doesn’t come in contact with any harmful chemicals.
Sea salt is difficult for the body to digest, whereas Himalayan salt doesn’t require digestion. It’s immediately usable in our bloodstream for circulation to our cells when dissolved in water.
Himalayan salt can actually help hydrate our bodies rather than cause dehydration. Sea salt is still important for feeding the good bacteria lining our intestines, but Himalayan salt has more immediate benefits and supportive minerals for our health.
Benefits Over Regular Table Salt
Now that we’ve crowned a winner in the sea salt vs Himalayan salt contest, let’s look at the advantages that come from kicking table salt to the curb.
Table salt is highly refined to remove impurities and is almost pure sodium chloride. While minerals are removed, anti-caking agents are added in to avoid clumping. The agents are potentially dangerous because they can’t dissolve in the body and can build up in tissues over time.
Himalayan salt is naturally rich in iodine, so it isn’t artificially added in. Since the crystals are larger than tiny table salt grains, there’s less sodium content.
Benefits of Himalayan salt include balancing electrolytes, reducing acid reflex, preventing muscle cramps, strengthening bones, and improving metabolism. Some even say that Himalayan salt supports a healthy libido and turns back the clock on aging.
Overall, Himalayan salt does pack more nutritional benefits than other salt types like sea salt due to its cleanliness. Himalayan salt can be added to your cooking routine or simply dissolved in water to replenish after a workout.
Throwing anti-microbial Himalayan salt in your bathtub may also help nourish your skin. Moderation is key though, even with Himalayan salt, so stick with the sodium consumption guidelines provided for the best results.