Pink Himalayan Salt: What to Know, Including Benefits and Uses

Is there a reason to stock that pink salt in the pantry, or replace regular table salt altogether? We've got those answers and more covered here.

If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen or watching cooking shows, you might have come across Himalayan pink salt. It's common enough today that you're likely to find it next to the regular table salt and sea salt in the spice aisle of the grocery store. But if you've never had pink salt before, you probably want to know what it is before you buy a jar to add to the pantry. Not only is the pink salt pretty to look at, but there are also some benefits to using it to season food and in your recipes. Read on to get all your questions on pink salt answered including whether salt has iodine, how to use pink salt, and more Himalayan pink salt benefits.

block of Himalayan pink salt
Peter Krumhardt

What Is Himalayan Salt?

Himalayan salt (aka pink salt or Himalayan pink salt) is an unrefined, unprocessed raw mineral that hails from the Punjab region of Pakistan, which is near the foothills of the Himalayas. Chemically, it's very close to table salt, containing up to 98% sodium chloride (regular table salt usually has 97%-99%).

Himalayan Pink Salt Benefits

Sodium is an essential mineral found in salt, and your body needs it to support a variety of functions such as contracting and relaxing muscles, benefits include regulating water content throughout your body, and promoting healthy pH balance in your cells. But is pink salt better for you than regular salt? Eh, it's tough to say. Himalayan salt is unrefined and therefore in a more natural state, which is definitely a plus if you're trying to avoid additives (table salt is usually heavily refined and contains anti-caking agents to prevent clumping). Some sources say pink provides more than 84 different trace minerals. But with the majority of pink salt still made of sodium chloride (and also meaning pink salt doesn't have less sodium than table salt), there's little left of the other minerals to provide any real additional health benefits.

Does Himalayan Salt Have Iodine?

Iodine is another mineral that your body needs to maintain thyroid function and cell metabolism. Regular table salt is usually marked "iodized," meaning the salt is refined with a small amount of iodine, which can help prevent iodine deficiency. Since Himalayan pink salt is unrefined, there is no iodine added. There may be a trace amount of natural iodine present, but not as much as iodized table salt.

How to Use Himalayan Salt

Himalayan salt tastes just like salt, so feel free to use the pink salt in a 1:1 ratio in any recipe calling for sea salt or regular salt. (You can find the pink salt sold as course or fine.) The amount of sodium chloride in pink salt is about the same as other purchased salts, meaning the flavor won't change.

Using a Himalayan Salt Block

Cooking and baking with the pink salt is great, but you can also invest in a whole Himalayan salt block ($35, Crate & Barrel). A large pink sea salt block will last you dozens and dozens of uses. Put the block on the grill (it's safe up to 500°F) and cook a steak on it to infuse it with flavor. Or use it as the base for a charcuterie board of cheese and crackers.

There you have it. There might not be a lot of differences in the composition between pink salt and regular table salt, but if you're trying to go more natural in the kitchen, the unrefined Himalayan salt is the way to go. Instead of preparing your favorite homemade rubs with traditional coarse sea salt, swap in Himalayan pink salt.

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  1. "Sodium in Your Diet." U.S. Food & Drug Administration. 2022

  2. Veerabathiran, Ramakrishnan et al. "Impact of Iodine Intake on the Pathogenesis of Autoimmune Thyroid Disease in Children and Adults." Annals of Pediatric Endocrinology & Metabolism, vol. 27, no. 4, 2022, pp. 256-264. doi:10.6065/apem.2244186.093

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