Does Himalayan Pink Salt Have Health Benefits?

pink salt

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Despite the "Himalayan" in its name, Himalayan pink salt is found primarily in Pakistan. It's a form of salt that is sought after for its lovely pink hue and marketed as a healthier substitute for table salt.

In truth, while Himalayan pink salt may have slightly higher amounts of certain important nutrients, such as magnesium, it doesn't contain enough to make an impact. Nutritionally, this pretty salt is extremely similar to regular salt.

While many people tout Himalayan sea salt's health benefits, including lower sodium levels and a greater variety of important minerals and elements compared with conventional table salt, there's little evidence that these health claims have any merit.

What Is Himalayan Pink 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 color 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.

The trace minerals in Himalayan pink salt give the salt its pink tinge, which can range from a subtle pink color to a much more varied, vibrant pink. Finely ground pink salt appears lighter in its pinkish color than the coarse version of it you'd put in a salt grinder.

At times, Himalayan pink salt has been marketed as Jurassic sea salt, but it was formed much earlier than the Jurassic period. The salt did originally come from a sea, however. The sea dried up long ago, leaving behind salt deposits in the mountains.

Pink Salt Nutrition

Himalayan pink salt is chemically similar to regular table salt, which is sodium chloride (NaCl). The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) says that regular table salt has 581 milligrams of sodium per 1/4 teaspoon. Himalayan pink salt has 388 milligrams of sodium per 1/4 teaspoon.

This disparity is because pink salt is less dense than regular table salt—owing to its generally coarser grind. When compared by weight, the two are actually equivalent in sodium content.

Minerals in Himalayan Pink Salt

Himalayan pink salt does contain extra minerals and elements that regular table salt does not. For example, Himalayan pink salt contains trace amounts of potassium, calcium, and magnesium, all minerals that your body needs to stay healthy. However, the overall amounts are very low.

Himalayan pink salt does not contain sufficient quantities of calcium, potassium, and magnesium to make any kind of difference to your health.

Most brands of Himalayan pink salt state on their nutrition facts labels that a serving of the salt contains 0% of the daily value for those nutrients. This is a little misleading because the salt does contain a tiny bit of all three. But because one serving contains less than 1% of any of these minerals, the label must state that the content is zero.

One ounce of Himalayan pink salt (around 4.6 teaspoons of salt) does contain around 6% of the recommended daily intake for iron. However, that's an unhealthy amount of salt to eat just to get a little bit of iron. Some manufacturers claim Himalayan pink salt has dozens of trace minerals, but there's little independent research to back that up.

It's important to note that Himalayan pink salt does not have the mineral iodine added to it as many other table salts do. Most Americans get enough iodine in their diet, but some groups are at risk of iodine deficiency, including:

  • People who are pregnant
  • Vegans
  • People who consume few dairy products or eggs

Himalayan Salt Benefits

  • Helps reduce sodium in foods
  • Additive free
  • Lights used for halotherapy
  • Exfoliates skin

Just because Himalayan pink salt doesn't offer any special nutritional boost does not mean you should avoid it. Some people find pink salt to be more flavorful than table salt. When in its coarse form, pink salt has less sodium per teaspoon, which may cause people to use less salt for seasoning, reducing their sodium intake.

Table salt often contains additives such as anti-caking agents, so some people may prefer Himalayan salt because it is free from additives. And choosing this salt simply because of its fun pink color is a fine reason to buy it, too.

It is perfectly healthy to use Himalayan pink salt as a substitute for conventional table salt. Just be aware that marketing claims promising mineral nirvana are unfounded.

Other Himalayan Salt Products

There are also non-dietary Himalayan pink salt products. While there is no concrete evidence showing that they are effective, many people enjoy using salt lamps, salt therapy, and pink salt bath scrubs.

Salt lamps are large blocks of salt with a light source in the center. They are purported to kill germs and clean the air.

Pink salt rooms and caves are also popular for halotherapy, also known as salt therapy. Salt therapy is when a person sits in a salt cave or spa full of salt with salty air dispersed throughout the room. Breathing in salted air supposedly has various beneficial effects on the body.

Pink salt is also used in some body scrubs and bath salts, as it's said to help relieve muscle soreness and exfoliate and moisturize skin.

How to Use Pink Salt

Since Himalayan pink salt is nutritionally nearly the same as table salt, you can use it in cooking and other food preparation the same way you use table salt. You can use finely ground pink salt in any salt shaker. However, you might prefer the coarser grind. Coarse salt can be used as a rub for meat, to sprinkle over vegetables as they are being sauteed, or in a decorative salt grinder.

You can also cook and serve foods on a Himalayan pink salt block. The salt is carved into different size and shape slabs that can retain high heat for an extended period of time. Because of this, salt cooking blocks are good for cooking and baking a variety of meats, seafood, fruits, vegetables, and baked goods. They can also be chilled and used to serve cold dishes.

It's important to watch your consumption of salt. Too much sodium may contribute to high blood pressure, which, in turn, may be a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and other health concerns. The dietary guidelines for Americans recommend consuming less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. On average, Americans consume about 3,393 mg of sodium per day.

If your registered dietitian, nutritionist, or doctor has recommended decreasing your sodium intake, consider an alternative called potassium chloride. It has the same flavor as salt, but no sodium. Additionally, seek out salt-free seasonings, like herbs and spices, to flavor your meals.

A Word From Verywell

There's plenty of hype surrounding the supposed health benefits of different types of salt, but little medical science to back it up. Himalayan pink salt does offer a visually appealing color, and some people say it adds a bolder, more interesting taste to foods. Your best bet is to use Himalayan pink salt as an unusual addition to your dishes and your salt shaker, and plan to get your essential nutrients in other ways.

5 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Salt, table, iodized. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  2. Himalayan pink salt. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  3. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Iodine: Fact sheet for health professionals.

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sodium.

  5. U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition.

By Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson is a medical journalist and an expert in celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and the gluten-free diet.