What Is Himalayan Salt?
Himalayan salt is a pink-hued variety of salt that is sourced near the Himalayan Mountains of South Asia. These days, it's everywhere. Not only can you find it in grocery and specialty food stores, but its charming color has also made it a literal fixture in home goods like table lamps.
Himalayan salt is mined in the Punjab region of Pakistan, near the Himalayan foothills. The origins of the mineral date back hundreds of millions of years, when the salt was deposited in a prehistoric lagoon. Until recently the Himalayan salt market was fairly small. Now, due to its popularity, exports have grown to 400,000 tons of salt each year.
Folks have made many health claims regarding Himalayan salt over the years. Some say salt lamps help purify the air, or that t can detoxify the body of heavy minerals, or even increase libido. What do scientists have to say about these claims? Are there any tangible Himalayan salt health benefits? Or is it possible that this mineral may cause harm instead of good?
Minerals in Himalayan Salt
As a mineral, Himalayan salt has no:
What you do get from it is sodium.
The traces of other minerals in Himalayan salt are responsible for the mineral’s pink tint. These trace minerals are mainly:
Himalayan Salt Benefits: What You Should Know
Sodium is an essential nutrient. Eating a healthy diet can help limit salt and reduce disease risks. All salts, including Himalayan salt, count toward healthy sodium limits.
In the U.S., most people get a high level of sodium; there’s no shortfall of it. Many people get too much sodium, mostly from processed foods and restaurant fare rather than from salt you add to your diet.
Research has not shown that Himalayan salt has any unique health benefits compared to other dietary salt. The mineral impurities that give it a pink color, often promoted as healthful, are far too low in concentration to help with your nutrition. You would have to eat a lethal amount of sodium to achieve helpful quantities of the other minerals.
Himalayan salt may be good for skin conditions like eczema, although this has not been proven and may also depend on where it’s sourced. The National Eczema Association recommends adding a cup of salt to bathwater as a relief for eczema flare-ups. While the association's recommendation refers to table salt, pink Himalayan salt could also work.
Himalayan Salt Health Risks
Himalayan salt carries the same risks as any other type of dietary sodium. Getting too much sodium, from any source, can lead to high blood pressure (hypertension), which can worsen many health conditions and raises the risk for heart disease, stroke, and other serious conditions. Nearly half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure, so getting a lot of sodium of any kind isn't a good idea. Pink Himalayan salt isn't an exception to that.
High blood pressure is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease. Too much salt is known to cause high blood pressure
Because too much sodium can cause high blood pressure, it can also raise the risk of chronic kidney disease, (CKD). If you have CKD, your doctor will give you guidelines about how much sodium (from any and all sources) is OK.
The more salt you eat or drink, the more calcium your body flushes out via your urine. For this reason, people with osteoporosis should stick to a low-sodium diet to prevent losing calcium this way.