Does Himalayan salt taste different?
In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “Does Himalayan salt taste different” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not Himalayan salt tastes different. Moreover, we are going to discuss refined salt and the myths revolving around Himalayan salt.
So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.
Does Himalayan salt taste different?
The Himalayan salt is somewhat milder than regular refined salt that we use in our houses. Its peculiar pink color is due to trace elements found along with Sodium Chloride before it is purified. It can easily be used as a substitute. However, it is notable that it tastes a little milder than refined salt.
The prevalence of excess US dietary sodium intake in 2009 to 2012 ranged, by age group, from 85.0% to 93.7%. On the basis of the presumption that most sodium consumed came from sodium added to commercially packaged and prepared foods, in 2010, the Institute of Medicine recommended gradual stepwise reductions of the sodium content of these foods as the primary strategy to reduce intake (1).
Salt is a crystalline solid compound that is composed of two elements, sodium, and chloride and is used to add salty flavor to our foods.
Himalayan salt has roughly a similar chemical composition as that of regular refined salt. The solitary contrast is that the normal salt has a higher concentration of sodium in it when contrasted with the Himalayan salt. The Himalayan, as an unrefined salt, has 96-98% sodium chloride present in its formulation (3).
Aside from the sodium chloride, the remainder of the Himalayan salt has minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium present in it and it is a result of these minerals that the Himalayan salt has a pink tone. The compound that is generally liable for the pink shades in the pink Himalayan salt is iron oxide. Himalayan salt is a rock salt, extracted from salt mines from areas characterized as marine in the past (2).
To break it to you, the Himalayan salt serves the same purpose as the regular table salt. Hence it is utilized to add that salty taste to your foods while cooking. Besides, it can likewise be utilized as an additive or as a flavoring in your food. Unrefined salts can be as 96% pure and have some essential trace minerals such as Mg, Ca, S, N and I. Unrefined salt is still the preferable choice of consumers in developing countries despite the fact that several health agencies have discouraged its usage (3).
Himalayan salt is not very processed or refined. It is not only hand-mined but also crushed and ground by hand. Therefore it is safe to say that the pink Himalayan salt is more natural as compared to that of the refined salt.
What do you mean by refined salt?
Refined or regular salt is the one that we utilize day by day in our eating routine. It is the regular table salt having a white translucent appearance. Table salt usually contains an anti-caking agent, and in certain cases it may be iodized to prevent iodine deficiency (2).
The regular table salt is refined by and large to eliminate the impurities that are naturally present in the unrefined salt. So after the refining cycle, all you are left with is unadulterated sodium chloride with simply a few hints of other significant minerals.
In any case, you should keep one thing in mind that the iodized table salt isn’t 100% NaCl salt as it is moreover invigorated with iodine. Nevertheless, it contains 97% or a greater amount of sodium chloride in its formulation. Usually, refined salts are usually 99% pure. Beside the Na+ and Cl– ions in the common salt, some other inorganic trace minerals such as Ca, Mg, Fe and S are also present. Proportion of these minerals is higher in unrefined salts (3).
So it’s the sodium present in the composition of the salt that serves numerous significant functions in the human body.
Sodium keeps the electrolyte balance of the body within proper limits, consequently forestalls the two boundaries, dehydration and overhydration. Besides, it assumes a significant job with regards to the contraction and relaxation of the muscles in our body. It also has a role in sending impulses throughout the body and in regulating blood pressure.
Sodium is involved in nerve conduction, active cellular transport and the formation of mineral apatite of bone. Central to its role in water balance, nerve conduction, and active transport is the plasma membrane enzyme sodium–potassium-ATPase (Na+/K+ATPase). This enzyme pumps sodium out of the cell and at the same time returns potassium to the intracellular environment while ATP is hydrolyzed. Signal transmission along nerve cells, active transport of nutrients into the enterocyte and muscle contraction/ relaxation all depend on the Na+/K+-ATPase pump. In the muscle there is an additional pump, the sodium-calcium system. The ATP utilized by the sodium pump makes up a substantial part of the total metabolic activity and thermogenesis (4).
Besides, the chlorine present in the salt likewise helps in different biochemical processes taking place in the body.
Other FAQs about Salt which you may be interested in.
How does salt lower the freezing point?
Myths revolving around Himalayan salt
So there are a lot of myths revolving around the potential benefits that Himalayan pink salt has over its other counterparts.
- So Himalayan pink salt does have some important minerals present in its composition. According to some studies, the pink Himalayan salt contains 84 essential minerals compared to the regular salt that has 72 essential minerals present in it in trace amounts.
But the minerals like iron, potassium, calcium, and magnesium that it has been present in trace amounts. Moreover, we use salt to impart flavor to our foods and it is used in a small amount for doing this. Therefore utilizing the pink Himalayan salt won’t provide any noticeable health benefit.
Himalayan salt pink salt also contains impurities or relatively large amounts of non-nutritive minerals such as arsenic, lead, and cadmium. No study has evaluated the nutritional composition of pink salt available for purchase. Non-nutritive minerals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, or mercury have no established health benefit and in relatively small doses, lead to multiple organ damage (5).
- The sodium content of the Himalayan pink salt is less than that of the refined salt. According to USDA, there is 388 mg of sodium in ¼ tsp of pink Himalayan salt while ¼ tsp of regular table salt has 581 mg of sodium present in it. Moreover, as the pink Himalayan salt is saltier therefore it is used in a lesser amount as compared to the refined salt.
So some people claim that it helps in lowering blood pressure as we are consuming sodium in low quantities.
But according to the American Heart Association, 75% of the sodium comes from the salt that is present in the processed foods that we eat. So even if you substitute refined salt with pink Himalayan salt in your daily cooking it won’t make much of a difference as you still will be getting a great amount of sodium by consuming processed foods. In addition, commercial refined table salt contains iodine, which is an important element for the body, while not all brands of himalayan salt have this element. Iodine is an essential constituent of the thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which have key modifying or permissive roles in development and growth (4).
- No doubt that sodium helps in maintaining the osmotic balance in the body. But whether you get this sodium from the Himalayan pink salt or the refined salt, it won’t make a difference as in the end, you are getting sodium from both of them.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “Does Himalayan salt taste different” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not Himalayan salt tastes different. Moreover, we discussed refined salt and the myths revolving around Himalayan salt.
- Harnack, Lisa J., et al. Sources of sodium in US adults from 3 geographic regions. Circulation, 2017, 135, 1775-1783.
- Karavoltsos, Sotirios, et al. Trace elements, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, mineral composition, and FT-IR characterization of unrefined sea and rock salts: environmental interactions. Environ Sci Poll Res, 2020, 27, 10857-10868.
- ul Hassan, Abrar, Ayesha Mohy Udd Din, and Sakhawat Ali. Chemical characterisation of Himalayan rock salt. Pakistan J Scient Ind Res Ser A: Phys Sci, 2017, 60, 67-71.
- Strain, JJ Sean, and Kevin D. Cashman. Minerals and trace elements. Introduction to human nutrition, 2009, 188.
- Fayet-Moore, Flavia, et al. An analysis of the mineral composition of pink salt available in Australia. Foods, 2020, 9, 1490.