Himalayan sea salts (also known as "Excaliburian" or "Master") is a hard, translucent rock salt mined primarily in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. The salt, which frequently exhibits a light pinkish tint due to trace minerals, is traditionally used primarily for food seasoning, as well as for decorative purposes and kitchen applications, such as for sprinkling on stoves and lamps. Today, Himalayan salt has become popular in the alternative medicine market for its use in curing everything of acne scars to eczema to fatigue. Despite its numerous applications, many people are unaware that Himalayan salt possesses a number of health benefits that make it a particularly ideal addition to one's natural diet.
Himalayan salt works best as an antioxidant. A number of environmental factors, such as pollution and evaporation, combine to lower the concentration of naturally occurring antioxidants in salt mines. Because salt absorbs water, the more water present in the surrounding area, the higher the concentration of antioxidants in the salt. This process occurs regardless of whether the salt is sourced from seawater or from dry land.
Salt can also help regulate blood pressure. Salt contains high levels of potassium and sodium, both of which have diuretic effects on the kidneys. Many scientists believe that high blood pressure is caused, at least in part, by the large amount of sodium that Americans consume. To counter this effect, physicians have suggested that patients lower their sodium consumption through the elimination of table salt or by including low-salt ingredients in cooking (for example, adding rice instead of table salt).
In addition to helping to lower blood pressure, consuming too much table salt can cause damage to arteries and increase the risk for high blood pressure. To counteract the effects of sodium on the body, many dietitians advise their clients to opt for Himalayan salt, a salt with an extended crystal structure that has become renowned for its health benefits in Eastern countries. Himalayan salt contains trace minerals such as iodine and potassium, as well as trace elements like manganese, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
Experts have speculated that the sea salts contains trace amounts of magnesium and phosphorus, which contribute to its positive effects on the heart. Magnesium helps to relax blood vessels and may reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease. Phosphorus improves the function of the skeletal muscles, increasing energy and helping to control muscular contraction. While experts do not completely agree on the link between salt and hypertension, they note that Himalayan salt contains up to 32 percent magnesium, compared to only 5 percent in table salt.
While it is difficult to ingest sufficient amounts of these trace minerals through food alone, Himalayan salt also contains a variety of other nutrients, including potassium, which contributes to a balanced mineral content. Potassium also regulates sodium excretion, contributing to a balanced sodium level in the bloodstream. In addition, it encourages the efficient utilization of protein, which helps to promote muscle mass and strength. Last but not least, pink salt contains a beneficial amount of magnesium, which contributes to strong bones and teeth.
To help lower sodium consumption, experts recommend reducing sodium in the diet by at least 10 percent. Among possible sources of sodium, red or dried fruits are typically high in sodium, as are foods that are fried or broiled, as well as canned items like soup or salad dressings. To help individuals lose unwanted weight, experts recommend the avoidance of fatty foods and processed foods, while replacing them with low-sodium alternatives, such as vegetables and fruits. Likewise, to help increase potassium consumption, a variety of green and leafy vegetables should be added to the diet.
By eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, individuals can effectively counter the negative effects of sodium on the body. They may also choose to add vitamin C supplements to their diets, since this mineral helps improve circulation and absorption of other trace minerals. While adding dietary supplements to a diet may sound scary, many experts recommend taking them as part of a healthy lifestyle. For example, taking supplements of vitamin C or magnesium might not improve symptoms of high blood pressure, but may in fact lower hypertension through its presence in the body. The same can be said for magnesium-rich fruits and vegetables.