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Himalayan Salt

Himalayan Salt:  The Pink Salt

Did you know that there are different kinds of salt?  Although salt is found underground in the form of rock, found in oceans and lakes, all salt is not created equal.  Salt is an important flavoring and is used to preserve certain foods.  But, did you know that it is involved with regulating and controlling biological function.  That may not be so surprising since life evolved in the oceans.

Himalayan salt also known as pink salt is a different kind of salt from the common table salt you are used to.  Some believe that common table salt (Morton) is harmful to the body.  On the other hand, Himalayan salt is believed to promote health. 

Sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium are critical for biological functions along with other trace elements.  Every cell in the body is dependent on these elements.

Sodium and potassium are found inside and outside your cells and are important for maintaining membrane potential.  Maintaining a membrane potential is critical for cells to do work.  Interestingly, there is slightly more sodium on the outside of your cells and more potassium inside your cells.  In fact, there are 3 sodiums outside of the cell for every 2 potassiums inside.  This ionic distribution exists right at the membrane surface and nowhere else.  This provides for a slight negative potential across the cell membrane relative to the inside.  This potential amounts to stored energy that can be used at a later time to do work.  Ionic balance is closely monitored in the body to ensure that this delicate balance is maintained.  This is referred to as homeostasis.  Homeostasis means to maintain a narrow range of conditions for proper function.  If ionic distribution changes abruptly, cells can take on excess water and lyse (burst) or they can lose water and shrink.  So, ions determine where water is and where it goes.  There is no direct control over water distribution in the body.  Water can only follow ions or salt.

So you see, salt is essential for your very existence and it is important that you have the proper amounts of each trace mineral.  Himalayan salt contains 84 elements commonly found in oceans all of which are found in your body.  Common table salt actually contains sodium chloride, calcium silicate, dextrose, and potassium iodide.  Sodium chloride comes from salt mines, calcium silicate is added as an anti-caking agent (make it pour better), potassium iodine is added to prevent goiter, and dextrose is added to stabilize iodine.  Table salt is processed by drying it to a temperature of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.  This high temperature processing is believed to alter the structure of the salt and destroy its natural vibrating resonance.  Himalayan salt is mined, washed, and crushed.  That's it.  It comes without processing in its natural state.

Himalayan Salt

The Himalayan mountains weren't always there.  At one time this chunk of real estate was on the bottom of the ocean some 250 million years ago.  Around that time, India was moving towards Asia and collided with it.  The two land masses converged pushing the ocean floor upward  As the ocean floor rose a large salt lake formed.  Eventually, water evaporated and left massive amounts of salt behind.  This became the great Salt Range in India and Pakistan.  This crystal salt contains minerals and trace elements in proportion common to that particular region.  Himalayan salt comes from deep within the Himalayan mountains.  Essentially it is a marine fossil salt, that is believed to be 100 percent natural and unpolluted.  Other than a light water washing, the crystal salt is unrefined.  This salt has a sublime flavor with a crunchy texture that can be used raw and cooked.

Crystal salt deposits are found around the world and are the product of ancient oceans.  So, crystal salts are all similar in structure and mineral content however, they can vary slightly in certain mineral content depending on their particular location.  Even so, a location may produce different concentrations of minerals depending on the layer they were collected from.  There are veins of color through the crystal salt that clearly indicate differences in composition.  Some of these veins contain clay and other impurities.  For that reason, crystal salt blocks are manually selected, inspected, and then crushed for human consumption.  Small blocks are chosen, washed, and then sun-dried.  Once the crystal salt is dried, it is hammered to create various size particles.  The salt is then separated into coarse and fine salt.  The photo above is of an Himalayan salt mine.   

What does Salt do?

·Salt regulates where water goes in the body and brain.  Sodium and potassium play an important role in water regulation.

·Minerals regulate blood pressure by moving water around.  In particular sodium.

·Minerals help to maintain pH balance. Calcium, potassium, chloride, sodium, magnesium, and bicarbonate are mainly responsible for that.

·Promotes healthy blood-sugar levels.  Minerals support healthy adrenal gland function.

·Minerals are a major component of  bone strength including calcium.

·Important for muscle contraction, tone, and strength.  Also prevents muscle cramps.  Calcium is critical here.

·Minerals support nutrient absorption in the small and large intestine.

·Minerals act as cofactors important for the activation of enzymes.  These include manganese, iron, cobalt, nickel, copper, zinc, and molybdenum.

·Minerals are important for trafficking molecules across all cell membranes.

·Minerals maintain membrane potentials important for cell function.  Major salts involved are sodium, chloride, potassium, and magnesium.

·Minerals help your body fight off allergies.

·Promotes healthy libido.

·Prevents varicose veins.

·Proper mineral balance supports mental health.

·Maintains proper kidney function.  Sodium, potassium, and chloride are used to transport molecules across kidney tubules.

·Minerals support thyroid function.  The thyroid is involved with cell growth and proliferation.

Water and salt are paramount to all metabolic functions in the body and brain.  Water and salt provide for a chemical environment conducive to chemical reactions.  Since all salts are not created equal, it is important to use a health-promoting source as much as possible.  Manufacturers are beginning to give the consumer a choice as to what salt you want on particular foods.  Most processed foods contains large quantities of salt and in particle common table salt.  This is certainly true of many can goods such as soups.  More recently, manufacturers are actually adding various sea salts to their products.  It seems they started with snack food such as potato chips and have now migrated to using sea salt in some canned goods.  Interestingly, you can use less sea salt than common table salt and still get the same amount of flavor.  There are those who say sea salt tastes better. 

Did you know that taking in too much salt and/or the wrong kind of salts can lead to joint pain (arthritis), high blood pressure, kidney and bladder stones, and the formation of cellulite.  Taking in less salt in particular table salt and using more crystal salts may help bring your system back in balance.  More than just sodium, chloride, potassium, and iodine is available in crystal salt such as Himalayan salt.  Himalayan salt allows you to use less salt  so there is little chance of causing your cells to dehydrate.  The more salt you take in, the more water you pull out of your cells causing them to shrink (dehydrate).

The colloidal nature of Himalayan salt allows the salts to be interconnected through their molecular vibrations.  Simply put a colloid is a system of particles that are spread out in another substance without being dissolved in it.  This is what allows for inter-connectedness.  Not surprising since these salt mines are over 250 years old that have been under excessive tectonic pressure.  These mountain are surrounded by snow and ice at high elevation.  The Himalayans are the tallest in the world.  These salt mines formed long before man existed and have not been subjected to man made molecules that have polluted the oceans.

If you're interested in knowing the mineral content of Himalayan salt, click here to see a complete list of minerals and other substrates contained within the salt.

Perhaps you've seen some sea salts labeled as certified organic.  As you know, salt is a mineral and clearly not of plant or animal origin so it can't be organic as such.  The elements on the chemical chart like nitrogen, sodium, and chloride are made by stars.  What certified organic means here is that the salt has been harvested from pollution-free areas and is unrefined (not processed).  Himalayan crystal salt is labeled as an organic salt.

Himalayan Plates and Lamps

There are a number of uses for Himalayan salt other than consumption.  Slabs of this pink salt are used as cooking plates, serving pieces, and lamps.  Some pink salt mines are used for their many health benefits as salt spas.

A thick slab of pink Himalayan salt makes a great flat skillet.  Having been under high tectonic pressure for so long, this salt's crystalline lattice contains a lot of energy.  These slabs of salt can be heated to just about any temperature and they will hold that temperature for a long time (heat rocks).  These salt slabs contain practically no moisture or pores and have been reported to be heated up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cooking food this way imparts a moderate salty taste.  However, the presence of trace minerals such as sulfur, calcium, potassium, and magnesium provide for a full bodied flavor that no other salt can deliver.  The flavor is unique.

Another popular item made of Himalayan pink salt is the Himalayan crystal salt lamp.  Large chunks of pink salt are mined from the caves to make lamps.    For what purpose?  The Himalayan pink salt lamp makes use of the many minerals that have been preserved for millions of years by placing an electric light bulb or candle inside a hole that has been bored into the chunk of salt.  The heat generated by the light source has the ability to release the special properties of the salts.  Essentially this generates ionization of the air which removes various forms of pollution.  Negatively charged ions interact with contaminants in the air, effectively neutralizing them.

This weighs down the contaminants so they are removed from circulation.  This is a very effective air cleaner that helps many people breathe better and tends to lessen allergies.

There is no doubt that Himalayan pink salt is very different from common table salt.  It is reported to contain 84 different elements that are thought to have special health benefits.  This is essentially a marine fossil that is unpolluted and as pure as any salt can be.  This salt is mined by hand by selecting small slabs with desired color and cutting them out.  The slabs are then washed and hammered to create different particle sizes.  Himalayan salt is now available to everyone around the globe.

Suggested Reading:

http://www.healingnaturallybybee.com/articles/salt6.php

http://www.madehow.com/Volume-2/Salt.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anticaking_agent

http://www.mortonsalt.com/faqs/food-salt-faqs

http://www.saltinstitute.org/Production-industry/Production-technologies/Iodizing-salt

http://www.himalayancrystalsalt.com/health-benefits.html

http://www.saltnews.com/chemical-analysis-natural-himalayan-pink-salt/

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