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Salt has really gotten a bad rap since the 1970s when cardiac patients were placed on low sodium diets to help maintain healthy blood pressure. I really can’t argue with that, because too much salt is extremely unhealthy.
However, low blood pressure is also a bad thing, so our bodies do need at least 1,500 mg of salt daily (but no more than 2,300 mg a day).
Sodium regulates the amount of fluid in the body. Our cells need an equal balance of sodium and water. Too much sodium results in too much fluid (water retention) and too little can leave us dehydrated. And, our muscles and nervous system also need salt to function properly.
Here’s a great article from Dr. Andrew Weil which gives a great rundown on the different types of salt.
But is all salt created equal?
Apparently not, and the new kid on the block is Himalayan pink salt.
I was first introduced to Himalayan pink salt when I was working at a chocolate shop, and one of their specialities was a chocolate caramel with Himalayan pink salt sprinkled on top. An interesting, but delicious, combination, and ultimately one of my favourites.
One Christmas, I was given a tray of chocolates to give out to passersby, and I was asked to tell people that Himalayan pink salt was healthy. But, I thought, how can I do that when I don’t know how or why, or even if?
Himalayan pink salt is found and mined underground in an area close to the Himalayas in Pakistan and India. The thing is, because it is mined underground, it is untouched, meaning that it is a pure salt with all the healthy traits intact as opposed to table salt which is highly refined.
It is similar to table salt in that it is made up primarily of sodium chloride, but sources are saying it also contains 84 trace elements and minerals that are not found in table salt including potassium, magnesium, calcium and iodine, and in fact these happen to the the very 84 trace elements that our bodies need on a regular basis for our health.
As for the benefits of using Himalayan Pink Salt instead of regular table salt? Here’s is a list of some of the claims being made:
- it contains antibacterial and anti-fungal agents
- it can clear up respiratory issues and act as an antihistamine
- it can balance PH in the body which can aid in combatting acid reflux
- dissolved in a warm bath, it can ease sore muscles and detoxify the body
- it can help prevent muscle cramps
- it has less sodium than regular table salt
- a Himalayan pink salt lamp can help purify the air
- it can improve the quality of sleep
Also, there are many nutritionists who are saying that you can make something called a brine or “sole” (pronounced “solay”), as it is called, with Himalayan pink salt that will solve a host of problems within the body including adrenal fatigue. Here’s a great article, How To Make Sole Water and Three Reasons Why You Should by Jaclyn Harwell at The Family That Heals Together that that will show you how, and it certainly seems worth a try.
So, it all sounds pretty wonderful,
and there is definitely lots of articles on the internet with these claims and more,
but here’s the thing for me:.
For every reputable article that I found about the benefits of Himalayan Pink Salt, I found another saying that it is no better than regular table salt, for a number of reasons.
Here’s a great article on the “pro” side by Dr. Axe, Pink Himalayan Salt Benefits That Make it Superior to Table Salt.
Here’s a great one by Dr. Keith Pearson of Healthline which states the latter: Is Pink Himalayan Salt Better Thank Regular Salt?
Not trying to put out the flame of excitement out for those that suffer from any of the health benefits listed above, but I like to keep it real. My feeling is that this is one of those doctor vs. nutritionist situations with the doctors on the nay side and the nutritionists on the yay side.
I will also keep it real though, when I say that I have tried many remedies suggested to me by my nutritionist that doctors say will not work, that have worked.
And, it is also worth noting that Himalayan pink salt has been used in the Indian medicinal practice, Ayurveda for thousands of years. Ayurveda is based on the belief that when it comes to health the mind and body are connected, and also that the mind has power to heal the body. It is a holistic approach to medicine which also holds the belief that natural foods, herbs and elements are the most beneficial to the body.
So, although the belief of the benefits of Himalayan pink salt seems pretty split, my general feeling is that they may well be very real, as long as you keep it uppermost in your mind that it is unhealthy to consume more than 2,300 mg per day of any kind of salt.