Pink Himalayan salt is crystal salt mined in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains in Pakistan. The salt, which sometimes has a light pinkish tone due to mineral contaminants, is predominantly used now as a culinary salt alternative to replacing normal table salt, not only for cooking but also as a favored food ingredient for decorative food presentation and lamps. Other uses include a spa treatment, medicine, and cosmetics.
Pink Himalayan salt consumption is on the rise in Western countries, where it is seen as a cost-effective substitute for regular table salt. It is thought that Himalayan salt helps maintain human electrolyte balance and can help alleviate certain symptoms of arthritis, indigestion, and lactose intolerance. However, health experts have warned that too much salt intake can have a negative impact on cardiovascular health. They advise people to consume around two to three grams of salt per day for optimal benefits. For those with heart or kidney disease or recommended blood-clotting medications, moderation in salt consumption is advised.
Using Himalayan salt in cooking helps to increase the body's ability to eliminate toxins through natural detoxification. According to Ayurvedic practitioners, excessive salt intake can stimulate sodium retention in the blood. This results in excess fluid retention in the legs (that leads to water retention and weight gain) and in the kidney, contributing to kidney stones and kidney failure. Because increased fluid retention can cause the body to retain more water, this can exacerbate the effects of any underlying conditions causing kidney or circulatory problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and hyperactive kidneys.
Salt has an essential function in our bodies. In fact, it plays an important role in our lives in so many ways that most of us are unaware of its role in maintaining proper body fluid balance. For example, sodium is needed to help maintain water balance in the body, however, too much sodium can lead to water retention and contribute to excess fluid build up in the blood. It's the latter of these that can create problems for the kidneys and contribute to cardiovascular disease. In addition, elevated levels of sodium in the blood also contribute to high blood pressure.
Research conducted by Indian scientists found that Himalayan salt contains a special "salt vacancy" that is unique to the Indian subcontinent. This ancient rock is said to be the only natural salt resource in the world that contains no trace of manmade additives. Researchers claim that this "salt vacancy" is what makes this salt so "unique". It also contributes to its reputation as being "clean".
However, the use of Himalayan salt in cooking has also been disputed. Proponents of the use argue that while it does not add any foreign substance to the food, others have pointed out the lack of fresh and clean water available in many areas of the country. As a result, some people argue that there is a lack of hygiene in the cooking process, thus increasing the chances of pathogenic bacteria being introduced into the food. While pathogens are not known to be an issue in most developed countries, some argue that in developing countries like Pakistan, India, and China, hygiene may be lacking due to poverty. It has also been pointed out that excessive salt use can lead to a decrease in water resources. While this may seem like a small factor in the grand scheme of things, the impact on human health can be quite profound.
Those who believe that Himalayan salt is the healthier choice often point out that, compared to regular table salt, it contains a tiny amount of sodium. They also point out that there is a much larger percentage of salt in regular table salt, which can cause a host of serious health problems including high blood pressure and heart disease than in Himalayan salt. For these reasons, it is often suggested that those who are unable to partake in typical healthful foods because of their salt intake should opt for this type of alternative.
Proponents of the use of this salt say that the evidence that supports the claim is well-documented, with numerous studies focusing on its health benefits. One such study states that Himalayan salt has a significant effect on blood pressure, reducing it by as much as four points. Another study claims that salt therapy can reverse the effects of high blood pressure, reducing it by six points within just a few months. While experts say that more research is needed to validate these claims, many people are thankful that they no longer have to buy salt pills from a drugstore or fill our syringes with medicine.