Quickly replacing table salt in many homes and restaurants — Himalayan Pink Salt is an object of beauty. And that is mostly because of its colour, which resembles pink crystal. Many environmentalists and nutritionists suggest it’s only a trend, but as one would expect, several food influencers and the internet tout it as the healthiest form of salt. Debunking the reality, many argue that pink salt maintains your body’s pH and blood sugar levels; some even say it aids in anti-ageing, but does it really? Or is it a trend that holds the baggage of environmental impact? We’ll discover.
But first, let’s discuss the basics.
What’s Himalayan Pink Salt?
Himalayan Pink Salt is a form of mineral salt that has been around for 800 million years, and it’s a non-renewable resource. It’s also limited and doesn’t precisely come from the Himalayas. As a matter of fact, it’s mined in Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan. The mines are the remnants of a former water body, and miners work for at least eight hours in these mines. While rumour has it that Alexander The Great’s horse was one of the first to spot and lick pink salt, it’s become so popular now that the mines are a tourist destination. Treated as a gourmet condiment across nations, Himalayan Pink Salt is crafted into decor accents like table lamps, ceramics, spa products, and toys, yet it’s not lucrative for the miners. And the fact that it’s a finite resource merits a conversation around its preservation and responsible usage.
Addressing the Elephant in the Room
If you’ve checked the aisles of a supermarket, you might have noticed that pink salt is often found in the gourmet section and is priced much higher than its counterparts. The demand for pink salt has reached a point where buyers are willing to pay a premium. But, according to a report by The Times, an average miner earns less than $10 a day for working 8-9 hours in harmful working conditions without any insurance or safety prerequisites. In the same report, a miner has also stated that apart from low pay, they regularly witness deaths.
The carbon footprint of pink salt is naturally high because it’s exported to nooks and corners of the world. From a fine-dining restaurant in Australia to a top-tier deli in Europe — Himalayan Pink Salt has made its presence, by travelling 6,000 to 11,000 kilometres. That makes its food miles quite high. Most responsible consumers in this day and age prefer to rely on local produce or condiments and spices that don’t necessarily travel across several seas and mountains. Besides, while there’s plenty of Himalayan Pink Salt in the Khewra Salt Mine, once it’s done, it’s done. Once and for all. Besides, Himalayan Pink Salt is hand-mined and extracted by blasting mines. So, you get the drift — it emits greenhouse gases and pollutes the land. And all this for what, you wonder? Well, so do we.
Most responsible consumers in this day and age prefer to rely on local produce or condiments and spices that don’t necessarily travel across several seas and mountains.
That’s what led us to understand its supposed health benefits.
Are There Any Health Benefits at All?
Source: Make A Meme
Like the regular table salt, pink salt consists of sodium chloride, but some argue it is also loaded with 84 minerals, making it an invaluable addition to our diet. In a Business Insider report, Rhiannon Lambert, a leading nutritionist from the UK said, “It’s such a small percentage of the salt that makes up these minerals, you are highly unlikely to get any real benefit or any trace of them in your regular serving of salt itself. But nutritionally, it’s pretty much similar to regular salt.”
“There’s a lot of homoeopathic remedies that can seem very appealing, but actually they’re not grounded in evidence,” she further adds.
While some reports suggest pink salt can bring down sodium levels, it’s the case with any form of salt used in moderation. According to Medical News Today, there is no concrete scientific or medical evidence to prove the benefits of pink salt. Very Well Fit — an award-winning publisher on nutrition and health, suggests that in contrary to various claims, Himalayan Pink Salt lacks mineral iodine like that of other table salts.
Besides, if you’ve tasted pink salt, you already know it tastes pretty much like your usual salt.
The principles of conscious consumption hold true here too – stick to the basics and keep it simple. The next time that fancy patisserie offers you an overpriced Himalayan Pink Salt Cookie, you can ditch it for something else.