What is Himalayan pink salt – is it good for you?

What is Himalayan pink salt?

What is Himalayan pink salt? Everyone has heard of salt, but do you know there is a wide variety of salt. It comes in different colors, shapes and sizes, and all offering something unique?

Himalayan pink salt, is a coarse rock salt that contains trace minerals. These include potassium, magnesium, zinc, magnesium and small natural traces of iodine.

Where does the salt come from?

Himalayan pink salt is a type of rock salt that is mined from the Khewra Salt Mine located in the Punjab region of Pakistan.  During the Jurassic era over 250 million years ago the pink salt formed deep within the Himalayan Mountains.  The salt gets its name due to the attractive pink-colored grains of salt and the region where it comes from. 

Why is the salt pink?

The amount of iron oxide within each grain of salt dictates the overall hue of pink color. This is due to the pink salt containing 84 trace minerals. The salt crystals can range from pink to white, to deep red. This depends on the amount of iron oxide in the grains. Also the finer grains tend to be of a lighter pink color.

How was Himalayan pink salt created?

Approximately 250 million years ago pink salt deposits were formed in the Punjab region of Pakistan. The mountain ranges are a well-known area where deposits of salt formed. This happened when the Indian tectonic plate collided with the Eurasian plate.  This caused the upward push of the mountain range and the Himalayas was formed. This also allowed the deposits of pink salt to also be pushed upwards. 

How do they harvest the salt?

In order to protect the salts there are strict regulations in place regarding the extraction of the pink salt.  Extraction takes place by hand, with mines stretching nearly half a mile into the mountains. To access the mines you must work through approximately 25 tunnels over 11 levels.

  1. Mining: The first step in harvesting Himalayan pink salt involves mining the salt from underground deposits. Miners extract the salt by using traditional mining methods, including drilling, blasting, and excavation. The Khewra Salt Mine, one of the largest salt mines in the world, contains extensive salt deposits that have been formed over millions of years.
  2. Salt Formation: Himalayan pink salt is formed from ancient marine salt deposits that date back to the Precambrian era. These deposits were left behind by the evaporation of seawater from an ancient ocean. Over time, immense pressure and geological activity transformed these deposits into rock salt.
  3. Extraction: Once the salt is mined, it is transported to the surface for further processing. Miners use heavy machinery and equipment to extract the salt from the mine. The extracted salt is typically in the form of large salt rocks or boulders.
  4. Sorting and Cleaning: The extracted salt is sorted and cleaned to remove impurities, debris, and other unwanted materials. This process may involve manual sorting, mechanical sieving, and washing.
  5. Crushing and Grinding: After the salt is cleaned, it goes through a crushing and grinding process to break it down into smaller particles. This results in the distinctive grain size of Himalayan pink salt, which can range from fine to coarse.
  6. Packaging: The final step involves packaging the harvested Himalayan pink salt for distribution and sale. The salt is often packaged in various forms, including bulk bags, containers, or smaller consumer-sized packages.

What is Himalayan pink salt used for?

Using Himalayan pink salt in cooking and food preparation has taken place over the centuries.

Used for the preservation of fish and meats pink salt is a versatile product.  World renowned chefs, working in high-end kitchens, love to use Himalayan pink salt as a seasoning or garnish. 

Used within the health and beauty industry Himalayan salt has many benefits as it is a natural, non-chemical and drug-free product . It is believed that the salt crystals offer many benefits, although more research is needed to support this.

Used as a supplement for animal health, salt licks are available for cattle, horses, wild deer, and even small pets such as guinea pigs and hamsters.

Himalayan pink salt benefits

What are the benefits of using Himalayan pink salt?  Well, the potential benefits might be surprise you. 

We have listed some of the health benefits below. But remember that some of these may benefit from further research to ascertain their overall effectiveness.  Shared from generation to generation there must be some truth in it – right?

  • Aid to a healthy diet
  • Aids digestion
  • Aids with weight loss
  • Used to treat joint pain
  • Used to stimulate good skincare

If you want to find out more about the effectiveness of Himalayan pink salt benefits then pop on over to Is Himalayan pink salt good for you to find out more.

What minerals are in Himalayan pink salt?

Himalayan pink salt is known for its distinct pink hue, which is attributed to the presence of various minerals and trace elements. While the exact mineral composition can vary slightly depending on the specific source and location within the Himalayan region, Himalayan pink salt generally contains the following minerals:

  1. Sodium (Na): Sodium is the primary mineral found in Himalayan pink salt and is responsible for its salty taste.
  2. Chloride (Cl): Chloride is another essential mineral found in Himalayan pink salt, which combines with sodium to form sodium chloride (table salt).
  3. Potassium (K): Himalayan pink salt typically contains higher levels of potassium compared to regular table salt. Potassium plays a crucial role in maintaining proper fluid balance and nerve function in the body.
  4. Magnesium (Mg): Magnesium is a mineral that supports various bodily functions, including muscle and nerve function, energy production, and bone health.
  5. Calcium (Ca): Himalayan pink salt contains traces of calcium, which is essential for strong bones and teeth, as well as proper muscle and nerve function.
  6. Iron (Fe): The presence of iron gives Himalayan pink salt its distinctive pink color. However, the iron content is relatively low and does not contribute significantly to dietary iron intake.

Other trace minerals that may be present in small amounts in Himalayan pink salt include zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, and iodine. However, the levels of these trace minerals can vary and may not provide significant nutritional value.

It’s important to note that while Himalayan pink salt does contain some minerals, it is not a significant source of these minerals in the diet. A well-balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods is generally the best way to obtain essential minerals and trace elements.

Himalayan pink salt side effects

As with all food you consume you need to be aware of any possible side effects.  Using any kind of salt sensibly within your diet should not cause you any serious health issues but it is always worth taking a sensible approach and being aware of what you are putting in your body.

If you suffer from any medical conditions such as hypertension, heart problems, and kidney problems, or have suffered liver damage, then it would be extremely important for you to follow the recommended daily guidelines for the consumption of salt.  The over-consumption of salt can lead to serious health conditions.  Have a look at our article dealing with potential salt side-effects to learn more.

The recommended guidelines advise that the minimum amount of salt an adult should consume should be less than 6g per day (2.4g sodium) – or about equal to 1 standard teaspoon of salt.  This amount greatly reduces for children.

  • Children aged 1 to 3 should have no more than 2g of salt per day (0.8g of sodium)
  • Children aged 4 to 6 should have no more than 3g of salt per day (1.2g of sodium)
  • Children aged 7 to 10 should have no more than 5g salt per day (2g sodium) 
  • Children 11 years and over should have no more than 6g salt per day (2.4g sodium)

USA daily salt guidelines

The American Heart Association (AHA) and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans provide general guidelines for daily salt intake in the United States. The current recommendations suggest limiting daily sodium intake to:

  1. AHA: The AHA recommends a maximum daily sodium intake of 2,300 milligrams (mg) for most adults. However, they suggest an ideal limit of 1,500 mg or less for individuals with high blood pressure, those at risk of developing high blood pressure, and certain other health conditions.
  2. Dietary Guidelines for Americans: The Dietary Guidelines for Americans also advise a maximum daily sodium intake of 2,300 mg for most adults. However, they emphasize that specific populations, including individuals aged 51 and older, African Americans, and those with hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, should aim for a lower limit of 1,500 mg per day.

UK daily salt guidelines

In the United Kingdom, the National Health Service (NHS) provides guidelines for daily salt intake. The recommended daily salt intake for the general population in the UK is:

  1. Adults (aged 18 and over): The NHS advises a maximum daily salt intake of 6 grams, which is equivalent to about 2.4 grams of sodium. This recommendation applies to adults without any specific health conditions.
  2. Children: The guidelines for children vary based on age:
  • 1 to 3 years: Maximum of 2 grams of salt per day.
  • 4 to 6 years: Maximum of 3 grams of salt per day.
  • 7 to 10 years: Maximum of 5 grams of salt per day.

These guidelines are in line with recommendations from other health organizations, aiming to reduce the risks associated with high salt intake, such as high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease.

It’s important to note that the average salt intake in the UK still exceeds the recommended limits. Much of the salt consumed comes from processed and packaged foods, rather than from the salt added during cooking or at the table. Being aware of food labels and choosing lower-salt alternatives can help individuals adhere to these guidelines.

As always, consulting with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian can provide personalized recommendations based on your specific health needs and circumstances. They can offer guidance on achieving a balanced diet and managing salt intake effectively.

More ideas

If you would like to find out more about salt why not check out our articles in the Salt Facts section?  Ready to explore a bit more?  Why not pop on over to our Salt Products and Salt Recipe sections?