Pink Himalayan salt is a type of salt that is harvested near the Himalayas in Pakistan, typically from the Khewra Salt Mine in the Himalayan foothills, the largest and oldest salt mine in Pakistan.
It’s easily-recognizable due its distinctive pink color, which is caused by the level of iron oxide it contains.
According to Choice magazine (1), Himalayan salt costs, on average, 3 times more than regular table salt, while, according to a report from the Business Insider (2), it can cost up to 20 times more.
Why so expensive, you ask?
Well, its higher price is usually justified on the basis that it contains less sodium, and higher levels of other minerals (like potassium, magnesium, and calcium).
As such, it’s promoted to be healthier than regular table salt.
Are the above true, however, and is Himalayan salt really healthier than regular table salt?
Well, not exactly.
You see, although Himalayan salt technically does contain less sodium and higher levels of some other minerals relative to regular table salt, this doesn’t necessarily also make it a healthier alternative.
Let me explain.
Pink Himalayan Salt Contains More Minerals
So you’re reading an article on the internet, and it claims that Himalayan salt has 3 times as much potassium as regular table salt does.
Is that true?
Yep, absolutely. Himalayan salt does contain 3 times as much potassium as regular table salt does.
The article also says that Himalayan salt contains 5 times more calcium, 10 times more magnesium, and 6 times more iron than regular table salt.
Still, all true.
Now, if I was trying to sell you Himalayan salt, I would actually put those numbers into a couple of figures.
Here’s what the figures would look like:
These numbers are 100% real and taken from actual scientific research, mind you (4).
So, have I managed to sell you my Himalayan salt yet?
Well, in a moment, I’ll show you how I fooled you, and why the presentation of information in science is hugely important.
Pink Himalayan Salt vs. Regular Table Salt Mineral Contents
If I’ve managed to convince you that the mineral contents of Himalayan salt are superior to those of regular table salt, it’s not your fault.
I simply took advantage of the way I presented the data – i.e. in a way that I wouldn’t be technically lying, but I would still be misleading you.
So let me go ahead and present the data in a more honest manner.
Here it is:
So, in the figure above, you can see the chloride, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc content of the two types of salt relative to their weight.
Here are the numbers:
|Regular Table Salt||Pink Himalayan Salt|
As you can see, when considering the levels of each mineral relative to the weight of the salt, the differences between the two types of salt start to appear meaningless.
Pink Himalayan Salt Mineral Contents Relative to RDI
Now, rightfully so, some of you may argue that, although in small quantities, some of these minerals in salt may be found in large enough quantities relative to the recommended daily intake (RDI), that the levels actually matter.
I hear ya, and I agree!
That’s why I also plotted the numbers relative to the recommended daily intakes for each mineral.
Ready for them?
Here they are:
So, here’s what I did:
- I used the maximum recommended daily intake of salt from the UK National Health Service (NHS), which is 6 grams per day (5). This provides around 2.5 grams of sodium per day, which is what is recommended for adults.
- I assumed that you would get all 6 grams of salt ONLY from adding salt to your food (which would never happen in real life). However, making this assumption would prevent people from trying to use this argument in defense of Himalayan salt.
- I used the recommended daily intakes for potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (6).
So, as you can see, even if you got your daily 6 grams of salt only from added Himalayan salt, you:
- would still get more than 90% of your daily intake of sodium (remember, most people are trying to get less of this).
- wouldn’t even reach 1.5% of your recommended daily intake of potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc.
So, do you still think that using pink Himalayan salt instead of regular table salt will provide you with meaningfully less sodium, and meaningfully higher levels of other minerals?
Hopefully, the answer is no!
The Bottom Line on The Mineral Contents of Pink Himalayan Salt
Getting sufficient levels of all minerals from our diet is important.
It’s also understandable that you may have considered using pink Himalayan salt, rather than regular table salt, in an effort to reduce your intake of sodium, and increase your intake of other minerals.
However, unless you plan on getting upwards of 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of added salt per day, you should probably not worry about the mineral content of Himalayan salt.
So next time you hear some guru recommending (usually overpriced) Himalayan salt because of its “superior” mineral content, drop the science on them by sharing this post!