Star Ingredient: Himalayan Crystal Salt

Himalayan crystal salt

You might be forgiven for thinking that pink salt is just another fad, only used by gourmets and food snobs. In fact, Himalayan crystal salt is a kind of super-food, chock-full of trace elements that our body really needs.

What’s wrong with ‘normal’ salt?

For years we’ve been told to cut down on salt, which is certainly a good idea if you’re using refined table salt. A nutritional expert I know once suggested that if there were two things you should chuck out of your kitchen right now, they would be refined table salt and margarine (note: I’ll be dealing with butter vs margarine in another post), and I completely agree.

‘Table salt’ might have started out as sea salt but it’s been processed to within an inch of its life, and not only does it have no health benefits at all, but it actively harms the body. Too much refined salt causes water retention, raises blood pressure and puts strain on all our organs, eventually resulting in nasty conditions like kidney disease, strokes and heart attacks. In short, avoid it like the plague.

What about sea salt?

Sea salt is a big improvement on table salt as it’s (usually) only minimally refined, if at all, and it contains many of the minerals our body needs, although they’re not necessarily in a form that our body can easily use. Enter Himalayan crystal salt…

Why is Himalayan crystal salt so special?

This miracle of nature started out in much the same way as normal sea salt, being deposited after the evaporation of sea water. These particular deposits, which are found in only a few places around the world, are about 250 million years old, and over time they’ve matured into a crystalline state which our body easily metabolises.

We need and can use the more than 80 essential minerals and trace elements Himalayan crystal salt contains, many of which are difficult to find elsewhere. These minerals, by the way, especially iron oxide, are what give the salt its pink colour. For a comprehensive list of the various trace elements, see here.

Pink salt

Some of its benefits include:

  • Stabilising blood pressure
  • Strengthening the nervous, immune and respiratory systems
  • Reducing water retention and boosting hydration
  • Improving concentration
  • Enhancing circulation
  • Increasing energy levels
  • Re-establishing pH balance
  • Healing skin irritations like eczema
  • Diminishing food cravings
  • Replacing electrolytes we’ve used up

Need I go on?

How to use Himalayan crystal salt

Much like sea salt, it comes in several forms, from fine through to coarse, and now even in heatable blocks which are becoming a trendy way to cook and salt your food at the same time. I particularly like the coarse variety myself, mainly because I enjoy the sensation of grinding it.

Use it exactly as you would any other salt, sprinkled over cooked food or added to it while it’s cooking. Bear in mind that it doesn’t dissolve as easily as sea salt, so I wouldn’t advise using chunks of it in your food, unless that’s the effect you’re trying to achieve.

Where to get it

Nowadays you’ll find Himalayan salt in pretty much any shop that stocks health food, including Dischem (which, by the way, is the cheapest I’ve found), as well as most major supermarkets. It’s a bit more expensive, but not prohibitively so, and the investment in your health is well worth it!

 

© Alexandra Lawrence and Inspired Nourishment, 2015

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8 Comments

  1. What an interesting note about pink salt! You wrote it so well, Zandi, I felt the scientist in you was there and you knew exactly what you were talking about! I have been using pink salt for years now – mainly because I liked the colour! Now I will use it with a different knowledge which adds more than simply flavour to my meals! No doubt I will now think of you every time I use it! Lots of love Sally

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  2. We invested in a 500g bottle of pink Himalayan salt a week or two back, and now use it for everything, the old ‘Iodised sea salt’ having eventually run out. Interesting that the brand we bought is packed for re-sale by a company that operates just around the corner from us! I’m going to see whether I can get a factory price – R50.00 plus for 500 g seems somewhat unreasonable 🙂

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  3. Hi Alex,

    I hope you are well.

    Wow I love your blog and your recipes. I am a late bloomer to the cooking and baking world and have been uploading some food pics on Facebook.

    Am looking forward to being in your mailing list of updates and blogs.

    Love
    Dee

    Like

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