The rise of the pink salt has quickly seen it lining the shelves of many supermarkets. So what's all the rage?
We take you through the difference between table salt and pink salt, and why it's so important.
REGULAR TABLE SALT
- Is composed of 97.5% sodium chloride and 2.5% additives.
- So it has a greater percentage of sodium, with the remainder comprised of additives
- It is heavily processed
- Purified by re-crystallisation at over 650 degrees
- This purification process completely strips the salt which leaves it devoid of any natural minerals
- It includes silicon dioxide an anti-caking compound to avoid clumping which in large quantities is a carcinogen
- It's often whitened, fluoridated and fortified with commercially manufactured iodine
In terms of cooking. Table salt is useful for baking when measuring out salt for cake recipes. However, it is easy to over season our foods when using this form of salt.
- Is composed of 85% sodium chloride and 15% trace minerals.
- Compared to regular table salt, you can see here that is has a lower ratio of sodium chloride and contains trace minerals rather than additives
- It is far less processed and naturally harvested
- Resulting in this type of salt containing 84 essential minerals required by the human body unlike table salt which has no minerals at all from the 'purification' process
- It's a good natural source of magnesium in which 80% of individuals are deficient
- This type of salt is also a natural source of iodine which therefore does not require fortification at the manufacturing level
- Contains calcium and potassium
- Helps regulate blood sugar levels
- Promotes a healthy pH balance of cells
- Helps regulate the body's natural sleep cycle
For cooking it is often used for savoury dishes and salads. The benefit is you can use very little - a small pinch to achieve the desired result.
WHAT ABOUT OTHER NATURAL SALTS?
You don't need to use Himalayan or pink salt specifically but it is a good example of the benefits of using natural salts over processed table salts.
Murray River, Fleur De Sel, Celtic and Maldon sea salt are all natural sea salts that are of high quality.
But not all sea salts are the same. Some are just clever marketing, highly processed and have no nutritive value at all or can actually be harmful to your health. A recent study by Nutrition Research Australia (NRAUS) has shown some pink salts contain traces of heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and cadmium which are hazardous to health. To avoid this, look for certified organic salt where possible that is naturally harvested and independently tested. Make sure you get a reputable brand. Australian products go through stringent testing and are heavily regulated to ensure what you buy on the shelf is safe. So buy Australian and make sure it's a company that follows HACCP guidelines. It's trusted and supports the economy.
RECOMMENDED DAILY INTAKE (RDI) PER DAY
Whilst minerals are essential to the body, they are only required in small amounts, so you don't need much salt per day. Too much salt can lead to hypertension and cardio vascular disease if consumed in large quantities over time.
Sodium is found in salt. So having said that, as per the Australian Dietary Guidelines, the recommended sodium intake for an adult is 2300mg per day which equates to 6000mg of salt (6g). Visually this means having no more than 1 teaspoon of salt per day.
However it is a lot easier to accumulate more than the RDI for sodium than you may think. Below are some common items we eat on a daily basis that can very quickly push us past the recommended levels.
A typical breakfast cereal or having toast with vegemite and butter are just some offenders.
1. Table provided by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FANZA).
Another point to note is, excessive iodine intake can also lead to hyperthyroidism. So like with anything, too much of a good thing can be true.
SO WHAT CAN WE DO?
The best way to combat this, is to reduce your salt intake but when you do consume salt, use a quality variety that is naturally harvested. Eat whole unprocessed foods (vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains) and less packaged goods. The saying to eat less from a box and more from the earth is never more true than now.
Anne-Sophie Rayment, Nutritional Advisor.
6. https://murrayriversalt.com.au/our-story/all-about-salt/7. Whitney, E., Rady Rolfes, S., Crowe, T., & Walsh, A.
(2017). Understanding nutrition (3rd Australian and New Zealand ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning.