by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
Just like many other social media food trends that stir up debates, the sea salt versus pink Himalayan salt showdown is quite real and ongoing. You’ll find a variety of salts in organic and natural grocery stores, showcasing an appealing range from pink-colored powders to white crystals.
But which one is better? Pink Himalayan salt or sea salt?
In this article, we will dive deeper into the world of salt, focusing on sea salt and pink Himalayan salt. From their unique looks to delightful tastes and captivating scents, this comparison article will lead you through their roles in cooking, health benefits, accessibility, and pricing. So, gather a sprinkle of curiosity, get ready to enhance your culinary skills, and add a hint of elegance to your favorite recipes.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to treat or diagnose any condition. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor before making any changes to your nutrition.
What is Pink Himalayan Salt?
If you have come across pink Himalayan salt at the grocery store, you may have wondered about the bright pink color. However, don’t let the color worry you — the pink color is entirely natural. The pink tint originates from minerals in the Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan.
Being hand-mined and ground, proponents of pink Himalayan salt argue that it’s even more natural than sea salt. Composition-wise, it outshines sea salt with a higher presence of beneficial minerals.
While sea salt contains 72 particles, pink Himalayan salt boasts all 84 essential trace elements required by your body. This distinction prompts most health experts to hold pink Himalayan salt in higher esteem compared to other salt varieties.
What is Sea Salt?
Sea salt, as its name suggests, originates directly from the ocean. It’s formed by evaporating ocean water or saltwater lakes. Unlike table salt, it undergoes minimal processing. This evaporation method allows sea salt to retain essential minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which are beneficial for our bodies.
Pink Himalayan Salt vs. Sea Salt: What’s the Difference?
Even though sea salt and rock salt share similar core components, they exhibit noteworthy distinctions.
Below are some points of differentiation between the two:
1. Mineral content
Pink Himalayan rock salt crystals contain a spectrum of minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium, among others. This type of salt is known for its purity, boasting lower sodium content than traditional table salt. Although it might contain trace amounts of iodine, the levels are usually minimal compared to iodized salts.
While trace minerals vary across different salt types, there are limited nutritional deviations among them. Pink Himalayan salt stands out for its reputed richness in trace minerals, exceeding those in various sea salts. It packs over 80 trace minerals beneficial for human health.
Sea salt, originating from evaporated seawater, contains potassium, iron, and zinc. The deeper the hue of sea salt, the greater its concentration of contaminants and trace minerals, influencing flavor without necessarily altering its nutritional value.
While dietitians often favor sea salt for its lesser refinement, it can carry slight traces of heavy metals and microplastics due to ocean pollution. Although some experts consider the risks of microplastics in food minimal, further research is necessary to establish this definitively.
2. Flavor profile
Flavor-wise, these salts each offer their own distinct characteristics. Pink Himalayan salt presents a mild and delicate taste, often noted for its subtle sweetness. This gentle flavor allows it to elevate dishes without overshadowing their natural taste (think along the lines of what happens when you put pink Himalayan salt on watermelon).
On the other hand, sea salt boasts a more noticeable salty taste due to its elevated sodium content. The flavor of sea salt can differ based on its geographical origin, introducing a variety of flavors to discover and savor.
Sea salt is formed by evaporating ocean water or saltwater from lakes, needing minimal processing. Its trace mineral content varies based on the water source, and it often has a coarse texture.
Pink Himalayan salt features compact crystals in fine and coarse grains, offering versatility in cooking applications like snacks, baked goods, and more. It’s commonly found in shakers and grinders for convenient use.
The Health Benefits of Himalayan Salt and Sea Salt
Sea salt originates from evaporated seawater and contains a distinct mineral composition that includes vital nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and calcium. These minerals contribute to heart health, electrolyte balance, and muscle cramp prevention.
Despite being less processed than table salt, sea salt still holds a notable sodium content. Overconsumption of sodium can potentially lead to hypertension and health concerns.
In contrast, pink Himalayan salt is sourced from ancient salt deposits in the Himalayan foothills. It showcases a comprehensive trace mineral profile, exceeding sea salt’s nutrient content. With over 84 minerals and trace elements such as iron, potassium, and magnesium, Himalayan salt gains recognition for potential health advantages.
These encompass supporting respiratory health, maintaining pH balance, and enhancing sleep patterns. However, similar to sea salt, excessive intake of pink Himalayan salt can result in heightened sodium levels, negatively affecting heart health and blood pressure.