Himalayan pink salt is crystal salt mined from the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains in northern Pakistan. It is a highly refined and purified form of naturally occurring salt. Like other minerals, it contains trace amounts of sodium, potassium, iron and sulphur. Himalayan salt was first introduced to the western world by Sir Charles Templeton in his book, "The Crystal Gourd". Today, it can be purchased in many fine salt shakers. Himalayan salt also can be found in many natural health stores and online.
Himalayan salt is the most highly purified salt available today. It is used in the culinary arts for its delectable colour, which comes in a variety of pale pink hues. The salt is sometimes combined with other natural minerals such as calcium, bromide, manganese, and chromium for additional colour options. It also has been added to vitamins A, C and E as well as essential fatty acids. As a result, Himalayan salt has become highly valued for its ability to retain minerals and trace elements in food.
Although popular worldwide, many consumers are unaware that Himalayan salt actually has its roots in ancient Afghanistan. Although commonly known as "gold" because of its golden hue, this salt is actually made from magnesium chloride and sodium chloride. Although the traditional use of this salt was for its colour, researchers have found that it contains high amounts of copper, too. Many consumers find that adding this salt to their dishes significantly reduces the amount of sodium or other additives they typically add to their dishes.
One of the most common uses for Himalayan salt comes from its use in various breads, cakes and sweets. In addition to its rich flavour, it also contains a type of mucilage that provides the necessary moisture for bread to rise. As a result, when baking pastries, pie crusts and other sweets containing wheat flour or rice flour, Himalayan salt provides an additional flavour that some find appealing. Although some claim that there is some controversy over whether the substance provides any health benefits, a number of manufacturers have started to include it as an ingredient in a number of their products, including bread products.
Salt lamps are another popular alternative to using Himalayan salt in your cooking. Salt lamps are available at almost any grocery store and are made by melting different kinds of rocks, usually on a campfire. After the rocks are reduced in size, they are placed in a special glass container that allows the light to pass through and give off the colouration of the mineral salt within. The resulting salt lamps are designed to resemble the properties of natural seawater and thus can be used to enhance the flavour and nutritive value of many foods.
Kosher salt and Celtic rock salt are the two varieties that most closely resemble each other in terms of appearance. The major difference between the two is in their grain size. Kosher salt tends to be less coarse than Celtic rock salt and has a much coarser texture. Most chefs prefer to use kosher salt in soups and stews because of its ability to retain the moisture in the food that it cooks, making it a healthier option than regular table salt.
One of the more interesting benefits of Himalayan salt and the crystals harvested from it is that the minerals found in them offer unique health effects to those who eat them. For example, alkaline minerals such as potassium and sodium are found in regular table salt but are much more abundant in the mineral content of Himalayan salt. Since regular table salt lacks the trace minerals such as potassium and sodium, it is important to increase your intake of alkaline-based minerals if you want to stay healthy.
In one study, elderly participants who took a high-potassium salt diet were actually healthier than those who took a lower-potassium salt diet. Researchers believe that the potassium in the Himalayan crystal salt enhanced the fluid excretion rates in their bodies, allowing them to achieve greater fluid conservation and energy levels. By raising your body's metabolic rate, Himalayan pink salt can also help to reduce your risk for metabolic acidosis, a condition that occurs when there are insufficient oxalate and calcium levels in the body. This acidosis can progress into kidney stones if it is not treated.