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Nature & Science

Distinguishing Table Salt from Himalayan Salt Composition, Origin, and Uses

Table Salt
Image Source:VasiliyBudarin@Shutterstock

Salt is found everywhere and is present in various foods, even if we can’t taste it. From breakfast oatmeal to lunch salads, it plays a significant role in flavoring our meals. Over time, salt consumption has become excessive, transforming from a food preservative into a cheap commodity used to enhance the taste of our favorite snacks. It has become so readily available and affordable that most people don’t consider its price unless they opt for the more expensive pink Himalayan salt. Sodium, a chemical element primarily found in salt, is an essential nutrient for human life. The American Heart Association recommends a daily sodium intake of no more than 2,300 milligrams. However, the average American consumes 3,400 milligrams per day, with 70 percent of that coming from packaged foods rather than from the salt shakers on their dining tables.

In recent years, people have begun to discuss the differences between various types of salt. Table salt, for instance, has only been available for the past century, while in the past, salt was considered a rare commodity even worth fighting wars over. Thanks to mining, manufacturing, transportation, and culinary innovations, we now have access to a wide range of salts from around the world. But what sets table salt apart from pink Himalayan salt? Is one healthier than the other? Do they have the same sodium content? And does Himalayan salt offer any unique nutritional benefits compared to table salt? We already know that Himalayan salt is more expensive than table salt, but is there a significant distinction between the two, besides the pretty pink color?

Table salt typically contains added iodine for thyroid health, as well as anti-caking agents to prevent clumping. On the other hand, pink Himalayan salt contains trace amounts of minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which are not present in table salt. However, the mineral content in Himalayan salt is so low that nutrition labels usually state a serving contains zero percent of the daily value for each nutrient mentioned. It’s worth noting that Himalayan salt may also contain small amounts of undetectable elements like arsenic, uranium, and lead.

The difference in sodium content between table salt and pink Himalayan salt is minimal. According to the USDA, regular table salt contains 581 milligrams of sodium per 1/4 teaspoon, while Himalayan pink salt has 388 milligrams of sodium per 1/4 teaspoon. However, the disparity is due to the coarser texture of pink salt, as the sodium content is the same by weight in both types. Therefore, choose the salt that you prefer and consume it in moderation.

Image Source:VasiliyBudarin@Shutterstock

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