Wondering about that pink salt you keep seeing everywhere? Himalayan salt scrubs. Rubs. Lamps. There are many reasons why Himalayan salt has become so popular! Here are seven of our favorite Himalayan salt benefits that are backed by science and everything you need to know about this natural health “rock”star!
Himalayan salt is a rock salt that comes from the Punjab region of Pakistan. Mined in the foothills of the Himalayas, Himalayan salt contains dozens of trace minerals that give it its rosy hue.
Studies show that it is one of the purest salts available. You can find it in several forms, from exfoliating bath salts to cooking brines and salt lamps.
Most of the salt we eat comes from processed foods, not from table salt.
When considering Himalayan salt’s benefits, the first thing to come to mind may be the nutritional properties of salt in general.
The common belief that salt is bad for your health is partially warranted. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the U.S., and we know that high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and too much salt are all contributing factors. However, the vast majority of the salt we consume comes from processed foods, not from pure sea salts that are packed with minerals.
The American Heart Association recommends we limit our daily sodium intake to approximately 1,500 mg, but the average American consumes more than 3,000 mg. per day. Here is how much sodium is in some common foods and how those 3,000 mg. might stack up quickly:
Dash of table salt: 155 mg.
Hot dog: 700 mg.
Fast food cheeseburger: 750 mg.
Serving of frozen lasagna: 1200 mg.
Although eating too many processed and frozen foods can be detrimental to our health, pure sea salt is rich in minerals and helps our bodies function in many important ways.
For centuries, people who live in “Blue Zones” have relied on a Mediterranean diet. Sea salt is a central part of the Mediterranean way of eating that studies show leads to longevity.
Himalayan salt contains more than 80 minerals and elements, including potassium, iron and calcium. All of these minerals aid our body’s natural detoxification process and promote the removal of bacteria.
Table salt is highly processed and contains fewer minerals and more sodium than Himalayan salt does. When you swap table salt for Himalayan salt, your body has an easier time processing it because it doesn’t require as much water to clear out the excess sodium as it would have if you had consumed table salt.
To boot, Himalayan salt is naturally rich in iodine, which food companies add artificially to table salt after processing it. The natural iodine in Himalayan salt is very effective at helping your body create an electrolyte balance, helping your intestines absorb nutrients and lowering blood pressure.
Want a great post-workout hack? Drink some sea salt and lemon water.
The average adult body is approximately 65 percent water. If we don’t drink the 64 ounces or so of water we all need a day (as most of us don’t), our bodies feel it. If the body’s water content drops by as little as 2 percent, we will feel fatigued.
How can sea salt and lemon water help? The same way popular sports drinks do. Essentially, when we sweat or workout, we lose minerals, or electrolytes. Drinking water with a pinch of mineral-rich Himalayan salt after a workout can help you regain them and, in turn, your energy and hydration.
Himalayan salt’s rich mineral content helps balance your body’s pH levels. When our pH levels are balanced, our bodies have better immunity and are better able to process and digest food.
Do you tend to wake up at 3 a.m.? There’s a reason why this is one of the most common times of night for people to wake up and struggle with sleep, and it has to do with your salt intake.
Between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. biochemical reactions that occur due to a high level of stress hormones that flush through our system cause sleep disturbances and interrupt our ability to stay asleep. Studies show that low-sodium diets cause blood volume to decrease in the sympathetic nervous system, which in turn, activates adrenaline and the “fight or flight” response.
For a great night’s sleep, mix some raw honey with a pinch of Himalayan salt and eat it or put it in a cup of tea.
Combine Himalayan salt with coconut oil to exfoliate dry, winter skin.
Himalayan salt isn’t just for eating. Holistic medical practitioners tout Himalayan salt lamps for their ability to purify indoor air, reduce allergies and improve your overall well-being.
Salt is naturally hygroscopic, which means that it attracts water to its surface. The light from the Himalayan lamp causes the water absorbed by it to evaporate quickly. So although there are few studies on Himalayan salt lamps, it makes sense that they would help with mold reduction and allergies.
In addition to purifying the air, the glow Himalayan salt lamps produce is a great antithesis to all of the devices we tend to look at just before we go to sleep.
A growing body of research shows that exposing ourselves to “blue light,” the kind that radiates from our phones, computers and tablets, as we are trying to wind down winds us up. Alternatively, Himalayan salt lamps naturally produce a soft, warm glow that is similar to what a candle or campfire would produce. It’s a perfect nightlight for your or your kids’ rooms.
Additionally, Himalayan salt lamps produce a small amount of negative ions – odorless, tasteless molecules that we find in abundance in natural environments, such as the mountains and beaches. Some studies suggest that these ions can boost serotonin and alleviate symptoms of depression.
Himalayan salt makes a great, natural exfoliator. Mix the salt crystals with olive oil or coconut oil and use with a warm washcloth or in a warm bath for smoother, softer skin.
Salt and mineral baths are a great way to relieve sore or cramped muscles. Mineral baths make it easy for our bodies to absorb the magnesium and other trace minerals in the salt, which can fortify bones and connective tissue that may be contributing to soreness.
Tomorrow morning, why not add a pinch of Himalayan salt to your water? Squeeze some lemon in it for added nutrients and bring it with you in a 100% BPA-free, Stainless Steel Healthy Human Stein water bottle.