Why is Himalayan Salt so Pink?
Often gifted as a house-warming present, found on the tables of up-market restaurants, and in the meditation rooms of wellness spas, it is safe to say that Himalayan pink salt is considered in a class above the rest when it comes to salts.
From just it’s appearance, it is clear to see that there is something extra in Himalayan salt that is not found in salts derived straight from the sea. So, where does this pink-orange hue come from, and does it do us any good?
Where Does Himalayan Pink Salt Come From?
Himalayan Pink Salt, as the name suggests, is mined from deep within the Himalayan Mountains. Through the evaporation of a large ocean body nearly 800 million years ago, a bed of salt was deposited and subsequently covered through geological and tectonic processes, by lava and eventually the highest mountain range on the planet. 1
Despite having remained in the same location for millions of years, surrounding solidified lava and large rock formations have prevented any additional minerals from penetrating this vast bed of salt. Today, it is mined by hand and broken into smaller pieces by mechanical crushing.
These two facts mean that it is often touted as ‘pure’ and ‘unprocessed’, which has added to the myriad of claims regarding its health and healing properties. Whether you actually consider this seasoning to be pure and unprocessed all comes down to semantics. In fact, the only reason it has such an aesthetically appealing colour is down to the presence of impurities.2,3
Himalayan Pink Salt Purity
Whilst table salt meets the food-grade purity requirements of being at least 97% sodium chloride (NaCl), the NaCl content of Himalayan Pink Salt ranges from around 93-100%. The remaining <7% is often said to take the form of additional minerals – 84 minerals in total to be exact, according to a number of sources.2,3 This is not, however, strictly true. Whilst there are 84 compounds present in Himalayan Pink Salt, some–such as hydrogen and oxygen—are elements rather than minerals.
That being said, Himalayan salts do contain a significantly greater number of minerals than your conventional, crystal white, sea or table salt. In fact, it is these minerals (including potassium, manganese, iron and zinc) which account for the salt’s distinctive off-white hue, with the exact colour depending on the exact proportion of certain trace-minerals present in that specific sample.4
So, when it comes to health benefits, is Himalayan pink salt any better than its other salt cousins? Click here to learn more.