When it comes to cooking there is an ingredient that can never be missing in the kitchen and that is salt. It is the best option for seasoning, as it is part of countless recipes and since salty is one of the favorite flavors for our palate.
Just as there is a wide variety of dishes that contain salt, there are also different salts that can be used to season. The variety of salts that exists is extensive and each type of salt has its own peculiarities.
In this article we will talk about the differences between Himalayan salt - which in recent years has gained popularity - and sea salt, recognized for its health benefits thanks to its natural origin.
Salt is essential in our life
Salt, also known as sodium chloride, is an element that for millions of years has been essential in human life. These particles in the form of crystals we know as salt - which in many cases are extracted from our oceans - are a basic component of life as we know it today.
Perhaps the most notorious way we use salt is in food preparation. A teaspoon of salt will always be a basic and essential step when preparing a stew. But salt also has thousands of uses, from ancient times as a powerful preservation method, too as a component in the pharmaceutical industry.
Among the different classes of salt, there are those that differ by the extraction process, their origin, or color; but perhaps the most notable and relevant factor for many people is the slight flavor changes that each type of salt can bring.
The reality is that in stores there are salts for each type of person, what makes the difference in their use is the need they seek to satisfy. The weighting options are many:
- Mine salt, the common table salt that is extracted from underground deposits
- Black salt, popular for its taste similar to eggs
- Pink Himalayan salt, known for its characteristic color
- Salt for water softeners, which softens hard water
- Salt for feet or for immersion baths, to help reduce inflammation
- Kosher salt, salt without iodine or additives
- Garlic salt, seasoning added with garlic powder
- Sea salt, extracted from the seas and the healthiest option
- Smoked Salt, which is treated with wood smoke
But among so many varieties, doubts can arise about which is the best. For example, if we refer to the kitchen, some of the most common questions would be: what flavor am I looking for? What do I want the dish to bring?
The healthy alternatives
The way we prepare food influences the flavor that our palate enjoys, but also the contribution of nutrients to our body, do you know the difference between using Himalayan salt or sea salt in your dishes?
These two salts have now gained popularity as healthy alternatives to flavor foods.
Discover below its main characteristics, to be able to weigh the benefits offered by each one and thus make the most informed decision of which one is indicated for your needs.
What is Himalayan salt?
Himalayan pink salt is a rock salt that has characteristics similar to sea salt. This type of mineral salt is mined as halite from a series of salt mines in Khewra, Pakistan, 300 kilometers from the Himalayas.
Its most obvious characteristic is its pinkish hue, which occurs naturally due to its iron content, and which is why many people refer to it as pink Himalayan salt.
Himalayan salt benefits
In recent years, it has gained fame as one of the purest salts on the planet and has been credited with numerous "healing" properties of significant benefit to the human body. However, so far there is no scientific evidence to support these attributes.
What has been affirmed is that within the properties of Himalayan salt is its composition, which has 98% sodium chloride and small amounts of up to 10 different minerals.
However, from a nutritional perspective, it does not present greater qualities like those that have been wrongly attributed to it.
And although its extraction process allows it to retain several of its pure properties, the notable difference with other types of salt lies basically in its color, flavor, and consistency.
What is sea salt?
The sea salt, such as Sal Sol brings to your table is extracted directly by solar evaporation. This process allows the salt to better conserve the nutrients that are essential for the body. Among these, we can find magnesium, potassium, and calcium.
Also, this natural extraction method does not involve the use of colorants, so sea salt is colorless. It has a stronger flavor, thanks to this the amount you use in your recipes will be less. Also, due to its extraction method, sea salt naturally has a thicker consistency in its grains than mine salt.
If you have any doubts, what does the solar evaporation method consist of? Well, this process is one where the salt dries naturally thanks to the energy of the sun.
In this technique, to obtain salt, in the salt mines, the water accumulates in brines where the concentration of the salt is higher. The brines are divided into shallow compartments so that the sun can evaporate the water and crystallize the sea salt.
To proceed with the production, the salt is harvested with specialized machinery and placed in mounds that allow it to dry in the established periods of time.
In the end, the sea salt is transferred to treatment centers where specialized cleaning is provided to remove any excess sand or other harmful substance.
Why do many people choose sea salt?
This kind of salt is a natural salt that is consumed to a greater extent by people who seek to maintain a healthier lifestyle since this element that is extracted from the sea has many beneficial properties.
This type of unrefined salt helps to maintain an optimal state of health and thanks to the minerals that make it up, such as potassium and calcium, it provides several benefits:
- It supplies us with essential minerals: This helps to improve our immune system because thanks to the contribution of minerals we can avoid the influence of bacteria.
- Correct functioning of the muscles: Thanks to its potassium content, it allows the muscles and nerves to function smoothly, preventing us from continuously suffering spasms or pain.
- Contains magnesium: An important mineral that helps our body to develop, be resistant to cardiovascular diseases, and also favors nerve transmission.
- Improve the condition of the skin: It can exfoliate, open pores, cleanse and stimulate circulation.
- Excellent for regulating sugar levels in the body, which is why it is important that it is part of the daily diet.
- Consuming salt extracted from the sea also helps improve blood circulation.
- It favors the absorption of nutrients.
Sea salt, just for cooking?
Unrefined sea salt is an ingredient that we know belongs in the kitchen, but it can also be used for much more in the home. There are various home remedies that use the salt that is extracted from the sea to improve our health or even to optimize the cleaning of our homes.
Among the uses that can be given to salt is its application in the area of cosmetic beauty, for the creation of natural products, such as the preparation of scrubs, bath salts, or masks.
A wide variety of home remedies have also been developed and passed on by word of mouth, which can get us out of trouble in many situations that arise today. For example, sea salt can be used to: remove dandruff, whiten teeth, preserve food, clean stains, and much more.
A well-known home remedy is to gargle with water and sea salt to treat a sore throat and cough. Likewise, gargling with this mixture is a natural way to treat canker sores.
The relevance of sea salt is so great that apart from its visible applications, there are also people who have superstitions about salt and attribute its powers of protection, the ability to ward off ghosts, and even as a representation of purity.
How are sea salt and Himalayan salt different?
Sea salt and Himalayan pink salt are both natural salts that share similar beneficial properties for health and are known for their application in the kitchen when we seek to maintain healthy habits and take care of our health.
Perhaps when choosing we will find ourselves at the crossroads of which is the ideal for personal health and our family.
If you are in doubt about your choice, here we point out what differentiates between these 2 salts :
The color of salt
This is the biggest and most obvious difference between sea salt and pink salt. At first glance, it is very clear that Himalayan salt is a pale pink hue, which is characteristic of it and distinguishes it from any other seasoning found in the kitchen.
However, the pink color does not make a difference when it is added to food and it does not change its flavor either.
Sea salt does not have a color that differentiates it from others and is called colorless. This quality allows it to be a very versatile element when decorating dishes, as it is easy to dye and use as decoration.
The difference in texture and presentation
We all know the most popular presentation of sea salt, in small crystalline particles packaged in ready-to-use dispensers at home.
Meanwhile, Himalayan pink salt is normally marketed in medium grains that must be granulated on the spot. Although it can be found in the form of salt stones for cooking or as salt lamps.
A great advantage of sea salt, like the one Sal Sol handles, is that it has different presentations. When you go to a store to buy salt, you may find coarse-grained sea salt, barbecue salt, or fine grains.
There is also diversity in packaging: by the amount of salt it contains or the packaging material. All this thinking about the comfort of consumers.
Methods of extraction
These natural salts differ in the method used to extract them from nature and how they are processed before reaching our homes.
In the case of sea salt, as its name indicates, it comes from the seas and is extracted through solar evaporation. For Himalayan pink salt, mining is used in salt deposits.
Where do they come from?
A peculiarity of Himalayan salt is that there is only one place it comes from Pakistan. For this natural salt to reach our tables, there is not only an extraction process but also an import process.
In contrast, sea salt can be obtained more easily, since it comes from the abundant oceans and several regions of Mexico are producers.
Ease of acquisition
As we already mentioned, the pink Himalayan salt only comes from one place and to acquire it there is an entire import process, which complicates its presence in local markets.
Pink salt is not a condiment that can be bought at the corner store, and in the same way, it is a product with a much higher purchase receipt.
This is not the case with sea salt, since being produced in Mexico —among other places— increases its ease of acquisition. There is a variety of presentations and it is a basic product that you can always find in supermarkets and grocery stores at an affordable price.
One fact is that there are a wide variety of myths about salt consumption, but the key is to choose wisely and control the amount of salt we consume since the risk is often that we exceed ourselves greatly.
Sea salt, due to its natural extraction process, preserves a strong flavor and with just one tablespoon —or less— it is possible to marinate or salt at the perfect point.
What salt to choose?
All salts have their positive side, the key is to choose the salt that fits the rhythm of life we want to lead. As we have already mentioned, the salt options are varied and its applications are very extensive, from food to natural cosmetic beauty.
Although salt can cause fluid retention, this is due to the amounts of sodium that are ingested when exceeding the limit recommended by experts. It is important to note that sodium is essential for the body but it is the excesses - such as consuming many processed products with preservatives - that can lead to aggravation of conditions such as high blood pressure or other health problems.
It should be remembered that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that an adult not exceed the amount of sodium of 2 g per day, that is, the consumption of salt per day should be 5 g of salt, the equivalent of one teaspoon.
Currently, you can find quality sea salt in various presentations for your favorite dishes. Remember to consume it in the portions recommended by nutrition professionals to take full advantage of its benefits.
The best salt is the one that contains the best properties and health benefits.
To take care of your health and that of your family, you can choose sea salt, thanks to the trace elements that are part of its composition, such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iodine. In addition, sea salt is iodized salt, so you can avoid diseases derived from the insufficiency of this mineral.
To maintain an optimal lifestyle there are other healthy habits that can be adopted: choosing to eat a balanced diet that includes healthy foods, staying away from processed foods, and playing sports.