Regular table salt has some competition! Have you noticed the wide selection of salts now available?
Salt is a major dietary source of iodine.
Salt consists mostly of sodium chloride and helps regulate important processes in the body. The potentially harmful effects of too much salt have caused many people to start using pink Himalayan salt instead.
Here is just one overview of salts:
- Iodized table salt: This is probably the most common type of salt and the kind you generally use to fill your saltshakers at home. The reason it’s called “iodized” is because today, most salt manufacturers fortify the salt with the mineral iodine, which is an essential mineral for fighting off certain iodine-related diseases like hypothyroidism. But if you need to limit your salt intake, there’s another natural way to get this important mineral into your system — eat more seaweed, which is rich in iodine.
- Sea salt: This is salt that is made using evaporated seawater. It generally has larger and coarser crystals than table salt. It is harvested in a number of places in the world, but there are a few standouts. Celtic sea salt is a type of sea salt harvested using a 2,000-year-old method from the water of the Celtic Sea in Brittany, France. Another type of sea salt is fleur de sel (which literally translates to “flower of salt”) which is harvested in the same region of France by manually scraping the top layer off the salt before it sinks to the bottom of a large salt pan. Fleur de sel is considered to be the cream of the crop when it comes to types of seal salts, and one of the most expensive.
- Pickling salt: This salt has no additives and is generally used in brines to pickle foods. Because it doesn’t have any additives (regular table salt has anti-caking agents and iodine added), it keeps the liquid from clouding up.
- Kosher salt: This salt got its name because it is commonly used when preparing kosher meat. Because it has larger, irregular-shaped, and coarser crystals than regular salt, it does a better job of drawing out the blood of the animal, which is required of kosher meat before cooking. This salt is preferred by many cooks because of its milder flavor and lack of additives.
- Himalayan pink salt: This salt is harvested in the foothills of the Himalayan mountain range and is basically fossilized sea salt. It gets its characteristic pink color from the amount of minerals in contains, particularly iron. It is generally more expensive than regular salt, but is also considered healthier and more pure.
- Black salt: Also known as Kala Namak, black salt is actually a pinkish-grey color. It is mined in India and has a strong sulphuric smell. It is commonly used to spice food in Southeast Asia and has recently become more popular in the U.S. among vegan chefs who use it for the "eggy" flavor.
Some of pink Himalayan salt’s commonly promoted health claims include that it can:
- Improve respiratory diseases
- Balance your body’s pH
- Reduce signs of aging
- Improve sleep quality
- Regulate blood sugar
- Increase libido
Pink Himalayan salt contains several minerals not found in regular salt. However, these minerals are found in very small quantities and unlikely to provide any health benefits.
Given all of the misguided health claims, it’s easy to see why some people are confused about which type of salt to use.
But no studies have compared the health effects of pink Himalayan salt and regular table salt. If they were to, it’s unlikely that they’d report any differences.
Nonetheless, if you’d like to avoid the additives in regular table salt, pink Himalayan salt is a great natural alternative. But don’t expect to see the major health benefits that you might read about online.
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