Himalayan Sea Salt Health Benefits

by Janelle Commins

About Janelle Commins

Janelle Commins started writing professionally in 2007. She has written for the "UCLA Total Wellness" magazine on nutrition and fitness topics that are of interest to young adults. Her work has also appeared in various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition science from University of California, Davis, and a Master of Science in public health from University of California, Los Angeles.

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Himalayan sea salt is a pricey alternative to table salt and sourced in Pakistan. Himalayan sea salt has a characteristic reddish-pink color from iron oxide; however, it contains only trace amounts of this mineral. Like table salt, this imported salt is high in sodium chloride which, when consumed in excess, can lead to hypertension.

History

Himalayan sea salt, also known as halite, is sourced in Pakistan at the second largest salt mine in the world. It is mined and sold in different sizes, from fine grain to large slabs. It has a reputation of having health and curative benefits derived from minerals deposited over millions of years ago in ancient seas.

Himalayan Sea Salt Composition

Salt is an important source of sodium chloride. Himalayan sea salt is advertised as having important curative and restorative effects; however, the mineral composition of it is very much like regular table salt. The difference between Himalayan salt and regular table salt is that the former contains more calcium, potassium and magnesium per unit weight and less sodium chloride; however, this is a relatively small amount. Specifically, less than one-half of 1 percent of Himalayan salt by weight is comprised of calcium, potassium and magnesium. The rest is sodium chloride.

Salt Intake Guidelines

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has suggested a minimum requirement of 2,300 mg sodium per day, which equals 1 level teaspoon of table salt and a rounded teaspoon of Himalayan salt. People who engage in heavy exercise or lose water from diarrhea may need more than this amount. Excess dietary sodium is a potential risk factor for hypertension; however, not everybody is salt sensitive. Ask your dietitian if you are concerned about the salt in your diet.

Considerations

Because of its novelty, Himalayan sea salt is typically sold as an artisan gourmet salt on its own but it can also be worked into processed foods. Himalayan sea salt, regardless of the color or source, contains sodium chloride.

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.