Are Pink Himalayan Salt Benefits Real?
You can’t live without salt!
It is hard to imagine that a mineral that is essential for life itself could be considered dangerous, but the low-salt craze tried to convince everyone that salt (sodium chloride) was the bad guy and contributed to heart disease and hypertension. Yet contrary to what we’ve all been told, salt in itself doesn’t cause high blood pressure.
Scientific research has never proven that salt promotes heart disease or high blood pressure. In fact, more recent studies show that people who consume low salt diets have more health problems, including a higher mortality rate! A 2010 Harvard study even showed low-salt diets could contribute to the immediate onset of insulin resistance, which is a precursor to Type 2 diabetes.
Salt helps your body on many levels:
- Salt is a major component of blood plasma, lymphatic fluid, extracellular fluid, and amniotic fluid.
- Salt is an electrolyte that regulates how much water is in and around your cells, and it also helps to carry critical nutrients both in and out of your cells.
- Salt maintains and also regulates your blood pressure.
- Salt supports healthy brain function and helps your brain and your muscles communicate through a sodium-potassium ion exchange.
- Salt is necessary to prevent cramps.
The key is using unrefined salt. Yes, as you begin to consume a SuperLife diet, the principle of pure, simplicity applies even to that salt you use.
“Remember, salt is food. And can be good quality or bad.” (SuperLife, pg.152)
I recommend switching to a pure, unrefined salt, which is real salt the way nature intended it. My favorite is the ancient sea salt mined in Pakistan: Himalayan salt crystals. Yes, some marketers will attach exaggerated health claims to the benefits of Himalayan salt. I actually saw one that claimed pink Himalayan salt benefits healed all diseases. Definitely one of many claims to be taken with a grain of salt (pun intended). Stepping past the hype, incorporating Himalayan salt crystals as a daily component of your healthy diet can be subtly advantageous for several reasons.
1. Himalayan salt crystals are one of many different unrefined sea salts that are crafted or mined from around the world. They are all beneficial because they are unrefined. However make sure you check the label for the sea the salt is sourced from. For example, a lake doesn’t count! And yes, there are companies that will market this to you as “sea salt.”
Table salt is processed until its chemical makeup changes to about 97.5 percent sodium chloride and 2.5 percent chemicals, whereas unrefined salt is 84 percent sodium chloride and 16 percent other naturally occurring minerals, including many trace minerals that are vital to health.
However, Himalayan salt can possibly offer more because it was originally formed from marine fossil deposits over 250 million years ago during the Jurassic era, and it is mined from ancient seabeds that have gone dry, encapsulating the salt crystals in tectonic slabs that have developed over the millennia. The ancient dried sea bed along with the thousands of years of rock formation that followed created a mineral-rich environment. The result? The Himalayan salt crystals can incorporate other trace elements not present in other salts. Tests show it offers up to 80+ trace minerals that the body needs. Yes, these are trace amounts. But I’ll take everything I can get.
2. Some unrefined salt will also have high amounts of minerals, but Himalayan salt crystals are generally less processed and contaminated. The bottom line: because these seabeds were formed so long ago, testing shows the salt is devoid of impurities such as heavy toxic minerals (cadmium, arsenic, etc.). Skeptics will say that the amount of contaminants are so tiny that our bodies can eliminate them. But I don’t like to eat anything extra my body has to work hard to remove. It has enough work to do already.
3. Himalayan salt crystals are also minimally processed. Forget mechanical devices or explosion techniques, Himalayan salt is hand mined, according to long-standing tradition. After it has been mined, the only processing that happens is sorting and washing it with water. This reduced the possibilities of external contamination. Most of the commercial supply on the market today is coming from the mountainous region of Pakistan, according to Mountain Rose Herbs, which is the company I personally recommend for purchasing Himalayan salt crystals.
4. Natural sources of nutrients such as fruits and vegetables contain the appropriate balance of nutrients and other compounds to work in synergy with the human body when consumed. In the same way, Himalayan sea salt’s mineral composition is structured with a balance of trace elements that work synergistically within the human body.
5. Commercial mass-produced salts are white and colorless because they undergo heavy processing and refining, which eliminates minerals in the process, and also contains anti-caking additives to prevent clumping including aluminum, which is a potential cause of Alzheimer’s disease. No thanks.
On the other hand, Himalayan salt crystals is not processed, so it can keep its pink/reddish hue, which is due to the present of iron oxide, which is not present in commercial salts. In case you were wondering, iron oxide is a binary compound consisting of iron and oxygen that is non-toxic.
6. Himalayan salt crystals synergistic composition are shown to enhance overall health. In 2003, a nine-week, double-blind study conducted at the Inter-University of Graz, Austria, evaluated the effects of daily consumption of 1.5 liters of tap water with common table salt versus original Himalayan crystal salt.
Patients who drank water with the original Himalayan crystal salt experienced positive changes in respiratory, circulatory, organ, connective tissue and nervous system functions. Increases in sleep quality, energy and concentration levels, brain activity, and consciousness were also reported.
A second study evaluated the effects of taking one teaspoon of sole made from sea salt versus one teaspoon of sole made from original Himalayan crystal salt on mineralization, hydration, and oxygenation. Sole, (pronounced Solay) is water that has absorbed as much natural salt as it possibly can, which is 26%). Patients who drank sole made with original Himalayan crystal salt were within 5-15% the normal range of health, but the patients who drank sole made from sea salt, were at least 35% out of normal range of wellness.
I believe that most uncontaminated, unrefined sea salt can benefit the body, but as the oceans around the world become more and more contaminated, the above study seems to point to an additional synergy and purity in ancient pink Himalayan salt crystals that can enhance health.
Himalayan crystal salt will always naturally stand out with its pink/reddish hue, but it should also stand out because it is a pure, unrefined form of salt that can do a lot for your body and overall health. The best way to immediately start using it is in your water.
I always recommend drinking distilled or reverse osmosis water, which has to be remineralized. Adding a pinch of Himalayan salt crystals (or unrefined sea salt if that is what you have) is the best way to remineralize the water and keep your body balanced and healthy. Plus, it is a simple way to incorporate the health benefits of unrefined salt into your diet.
Build momentum on the subtle advantages Himalayan crystal salt can provide, one grain of salt at a time.
- Nielsen, Forrest H. Ultratrace Elements of Possible Importance for Human Health: An Update Essential and Toxic Tace Elements in Human Health: An Update, pages 355-376, 1993.
- Dr Barbara Hendel 2007, Water & Salt ISBN-10: 3952339008