Himalayan salt and sea salt – these two have become popular types of salt in the market today. But is there really a difference between the two of them?
Aside from the conventional table salt, two other types of salt are being commonly used today- the Himalayan salt and the sea salt. These are said to be purer salt varieties, which are believed to be healthier than the refined table salt.
Let us take a look at these two types of salt, as well as salt in general, to understand more.
Salt is a compound composed of sodium and chlorine, with a chemical name sodium chloride. It can be obtained in two ways. One is by evaporating sea water and the other one is by mining dried beds of enclosed bodies of water, such as lakes, seas, and playas. Salt mined from dried beds are otherwise called rock salt.
Uses and benefits of salt
Salt has become an integral part of our lives. Along with other minerals and elements, the right amount of sodium and chlorine help maintain the balance in our body to allow it to function properly, making us healthy.
Salt has also become a necessity when it comes to food preservation. It has been found to inhibit the growth of bacteria, thus preventing food spoilage over a course of many months and over different seasons. It also allows food to be transported to far-away places without getting spoiled.
When it comes to cooking, salt is also used as a flavoring to give taste to bland foods. Today, there are more types of salt in the market used for cooking aside from the refined table salt and the rock salt. These include the Himalayan salt and the sea salt, among others.
Himalayan salt vs sea salt
Himalayan salt vs sea salt – how do these two differ? Being said to be purer and healthier types of salt, is there really a difference between the two that make one a healthier choice?
Let us take a look at their similarities and differences.
The Himalayan salt, as the name suggests, is from the Himalayas. It is mined from the Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan. Otherwise known as the Himalayan Pink salt, it is thought to be the purest form of salt being protected from pollution for millions of years, unlike other salt sources.
Sea salt, on the other hand, is obtained from evaporating water from sea, ocean, or saltwater lake. A man-made pool is usually used to collect water from the sea, which is then evaporated, forming sea salt residues.
The Himalayan salt is a red to pinkish coarse salt that tastes quite strong in your tongue when tasted directly. Its pink color is due to its iron oxide content. Aside from sodium chloride, the Himalayan salt contains small traces of minerals, such as Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, and Iron, as well as other elements.
Sea salt, on the other hand, has a coarse texture with grayish to white color. It also has a strong taste when taken directly. Because it is not highly processed compared to table salt, it is also said to contain traces of minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium and other elements.
Sea salt may also contain traces of heavy metals, such as lead, due to possible water pollution in seas and oceans. No reports, however, were made on heavy metal poisoning on sea salt.
Because of the different minerals and trace elements found in the Himalayan salt and the sea salt, their taste may differ a bit. However, when they are dissolved in food, they would most likely taste the same.
The Himalayan salt and the sea salt are said to be better alternatives to table salt since they do not contain additives. Because they do not undergo a lot of processing, they still contain traces of minerals that are not anymore found in refined table salt.
Being more organic in nature, both the Himalayan salt and the sea salt are said to be better salt options for your kidneys. The anti-caking agents that prevent the salt from clumping, as well as other additives present in refined table salt both add toxins to the kidney.
The sea salt is recommended by the American Dietetic Association for use over table salt so as to lower and regulate your blood pressure. It is also said to help pass kidney stones and prevent new ones from forming.
The Himalayan salt is also popular for its brine therapy usage. Although further studies need to be done to back this benefit, soaking in bath with dissolved Himalayan salt is said to help in your blood circulation and lower your blood pressure. Brine therapy is also said to help treat certain skin diseases because of its anti-bacterial properties.
There is really not much difference between the Himalayan salt and the sea salt. They taste the same and they function the same. They are mostly made up sodium chloride and contain traces of impurities, such as minerals and elements.
Their only differences are their color and how they are obtained. So choosing between Himalayan salt and sea salt is really up to you.
While the Himalayan salt and the sea salt are purer and healthier than table salt, you should still limit your sodium intake. Even if they offer health benefits, too much sodium can harm your health.
Water retention is the preliminary effect of having too much sodium chloride in your body. This can cause you to gain weight, as well as puffiness and bloating.
Too much salt will also put you at greater risk of having health complications, such as stroke, heart diseases, kidney diseases, and even stomach cancer.
To maintain sodium balance in your body, remember to consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day as suggested by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If you are hypertensive, if you have an unhealthy kidney, or you belong to the middle to older-aged adults, you need to limit your sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams per day.
So while more natural forms of salt like the Himalayan salt and sea salt are considered to be healthier, they are still mainly composed of sodium chloride. Sodium balance must be always be maintained to stay healthy and nourished.