Himalayan pink salt is a form of salt that is found primarily in Pakistan. It’s marketed as a healthier substitute for table salt, and as a trendy alternative to sea salt. In fact, many people tout its many supposed health benefits, which include supposedly lower sodium levels and a greater variety of important minerals when compared to conventional table salt.
The problem is, there’s little evidence that these health claims have any merit. In truth, Himalayan pink salt may have somewhat higher amounts of certain important nutrients such as magnesium. Nutritionally, though, it’s extremely similar to regular salt.
Himalayan pink salt is mined in the Salt Range mountains in the remote Punjab region of Pakistan, south of Islamabad. It’s a form of rock salt that gets its pinkish colour from impurities contained within the salt. Himalayan pink salt has been mined for hundreds of years, since at least the 1200s, and historically has been used for food preparation and food preservation.
Despite many unsupported medical claims about Himalayan pink salt, it’s chemically similar to regular table salt, which is sodium chloride.
The United States Department of Agriculture, which keeps detailed nutritional analyses on foods sold in the United States, says that regular table salt has 581 mg of sodium per quarter-teaspoon. In comparison, the USDA reports that Himalayan pink salt has 388 mg of sodium per quarter-teaspoon, but that’s because it’s less dense than regular table salt—owing to its generally coarser grind. When compared by weight, the two are equivalent in sodium content.
Himalayan pink salt does contain some extra minerals that regular table salt does not have. For example, Himalayan pink salt contains trace amounts of potassium, calcium, and magnesium, all minerals that your body needs to stay healthy.