What does Himalayan pink salt taste like
In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “what does Himalayan pink salt taste like” with an in-depth analysis of the taste and nutrient profile of Himalayan pink salt. Moreover, we are going to discuss what Himalayan pink salt is and are there any additional benefits of using it.
So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.
What does Himalayan pink salt taste like?
The Himalayan pink salt is saltier than the regular refined salt that we use in our houses. As it is saltier than the regular salt that means that you have to use less amount of the pink Himalayan salt to achieve the same salty taste as that of the regular 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).
What is salt?
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 and is used as a food preservative.
What is refined salt?
Refined or regular salt is the one that we use daily in our diet. It is the regular table salt having a white crystalline appearance. The regular table salt is refined to a great extent to remove the impurities that are present in the naturally present salt. So after the refining process, all you are left with is pure sodium chloride with just some traces of other important minerals.
But you should keep one thing in consideration that the iodized table salt is not 100% NaCl salt as it is additionally fortified with iodine. 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).
Table salt usually contains an anti-caking agent, and in certain cases it may be iodized to prevent iodine deficiency (2).
What Is Himalayan pink salt?
Himalayan pink salt has approximately the same chemical composition as that of regular salt. The only difference is that the regular salt has a higher concentration of sodium in it as compared to the pink Himalayan salt. The Himalayan pink salt has about 98% sodium chloride present in its formulation. 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 of the fact that several health agencies have discouraged its usage (3).
Himalayan salt is a rock salt, extracted from salt mines from areas characterized as marine in the past (2).
Apart from the sodium chloride, the rest of the Himalayan pink salt has minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium present in it and it is because of these minerals that the Himalayan salt has a pink color. The compound that is mostly responsible for the pink hues in the pink Himalayan salt is iron oxide (2).
How is Himalayan pink salt used?
To break it to you, the Himalayan pink salt serves the same purpose as the regular table salt. Thus it is used to add that salty taste to your foods while cooking. Moreover, it can also be used as a preservative or as a seasoning in your food.
Why does the body need salt?
So it’s the sodium present in the formulation of the salt that serves many important functions in the human body.
Sodium keeps the osmotic balance of the body in check, thus prevents the two extremes, dehydration and overhydration. Moreover, it plays an important role when it comes to the contracting and relaxing movements of the muscles in our body. It also has a role in sending impulses throughout the body and in regulating the 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).
Moreover, the chlorine present in the salt also helps in various biochemical processes taking part in the body. Among the main functions of the chloride anion are as dissociated hydrochloric acid in the stomach and in the chloride shift in the erythrocyte plasma membrane, where it exchanges with the bicarbonate ion.
Other FAQs about Salt which you may be interested in.
Are there any additional health benefits of Himalayan pink salt?
So there are a lot of myths revolving around the potential benefits that Himalayan pink salt has over its other counterparts.
Enriched with minerals
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 in 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.
Minerals and trace elements are important to maintain the body functions and their deficiencies are related to many diseases (4). However, himalayan salt pink salt contains a variety of essential nutrients including iron, zinc, and calcium, but found some samples also contained 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).
Less refined salt
Himalayan pink salt is not very processed or refined. It is not only hand-mined but also crushed and ground with hand. Therefore it is safe to say that the pink Himalayan salt is more natural as compared to that of the refined salt. However, 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).
Lower sodium content
The sodium content of the Himalayan pink salt is less than that of the refined salt. According to studies, there is about 394 mg of sodium in ¼ tsp of pink Himalayan salt while ¼ tsp of regular table salt has about 427 mg of sodium present in it (5).
But according to the American Heart Association, about 71% of the sodium comes from the salt that is present in the processed foods that we eat and salt added to food outside the home (1). 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.
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 “what does Himalayan pink salt taste like” with an in-depth analysis of the taste and nutrient profile of Himalayan pink salt. Moreover, we discussed what Himalayan pink salt is and are there any additional benefits of using it.
- 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.