Which Salt Is Good for High Blood Pressure
Eating too much salt of any kind—Himalayan or regular table salt—is not recommended for people with high blood pressure or kidney diseases

Eating too much salt of any kind is not recommended for people with high blood pressure or kidney diseases. 

Although Himalayan pink salt is often touted as a healthier salt because it is said to contain less sodium per serving than ordinary table salt, no large-scale studies have supported this claim.

What are different types of salt?

Different types of salt have different tastes and textures depending on how they are processed. However, all salts contain 40% sodium, and any difference in sodium content are simply due to the volume and shape of the crystals

  • Table or regular salt: 
    • Typically mined from underground deposits
    • Processed to remove other minerals
    • Commonly fortified with iodine, which is important for thyroid health
    • One teaspoon of table salt contains 2,325 mg of sodium
  • Sea salt: 
    • Made by evaporating seawater
    • Less processed than table salt
    • Contains more trace nutrients such as potassium, iron, and calcium
    • Has a larger granule size than table salt
    • One teaspoon of sea salt contains 1,872 mg of sodium
  • Kosher salt: 
    • Unrefined, coarse
    • Rarely contains additives
    • Contains sodium chloride but not iodine, qualifying it as a non-iodized salt
    • One teaspoon of kosher salt contains 1,120 mg of sodium
  • Himalayan pink salt: 
    • Coarse, granular, mined salt
    • Contains traces of iodine (less than table salt) and other elements
    • One teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt contains 1,680 mg of sodium

What is the daily recommended salt intake?

Although salt is an essential nutrient required for many biological processes, excess amounts can lead to high blood pressure, renal dysfunction, stroke, and heart disease. People with these conditions should consume less than 1,500 mg of salt per day.

Regardless of which type of salt you are consuming, moderation is key. The American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day, which is roughly how much sodium is in one teaspoon of table salt.

How does salt increase blood pressure?

When you eat too much salt or sodium, extra water is retained in the bloodstream to flush out the salt from the body. This makes your kidneys work overtime to release chemicals such as renin and angiotensin, which cause the blood vessels to narrow and blood pressure to increase temporarily. 

Additionally, the renin-angiotensin spike causes the release of another hormone called aldosterone, which increases blood pressure through water retention. Consistent high intake of salt thus results in a constant increase in blood pressure, eventually leading to hypertension.

Additionally, excess salt consumption causes hardening of the blood vessels, leading to increased resistance in the small arteries. This causes the heart to have to work harder to pump blood, resulting in hypertrophy of the heart muscle. Over time, the heart is unable to pump the blood with increased force, causing gradual weakening of the muscle.

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What are the nutritional benefits of Himalayan pink salt?

  • Nutritional value: According to some claims, Himalayan pink salt contains less sodium per serving than ordinary table salt. Himalayan pink salt also contains a trace amount of minerals that table salt does not have, including:
    • Zinc
    • Iron
    • Calcium
    • Potassium
    • Magnesium
  • Improves respiratory health: It is believed that salt therapy, which involves the inhalation of air infused with salt, is beneficial for respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, more research on this point is needed.
  • Prevents dehydration: Salt is necessary to maintain adequate and balanced hydration levels in the body. Getting enough salt, especially before or after vigorous exercise, is important to prevent dehydration caused by lost water and salt, a condition called hyponatremia.
  • Promotes skin health: Salt is believed to have several beneficial effects on various skin conditions such as eczema, depending on where the salt is sourced. The National Eczema Association recommends adding a cup of salt to bathwater for relief from eczema flare-ups.

What are the risks of consuming too much salt?

  • Kidney disease: Because excess salt can cause high blood pressure, it also can increase the risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Scientific guidelines advise moderate salt intake to slow the progression of CKD.
  • Heart disease: High blood pressure is also the leading cause of cardiovascular disease. Too much salt can therefore lead to heart problems.
  • Bone disorders: Consuming too much salt may cause high levels of calcium to leach out of the body during urination. As such, scientists suspect that excess salt could increase the risk of osteoporosis and other bone disorders, although more further studies are needed.
  • Hypernatremia (excess sodium): Hypernatremia is caused by excess sodium levels in the blood. This is a serious condition that requires medical attention.

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Medically Reviewed on 2/16/2022
References
Image Source: iStock Images

Cleveland Clinic. Sodium & Heart Health. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/16881-sodium--heart-health

Link R. Kosher Salt: What It Is, Vs. Other Types of Salt, and More. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/different-types-of-salt#other-salt-types/

FoodData Central. [Historical Record]: 100% Natural Himalayan Pink Salt. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/806645/nutrients

Mayo Clinic Health System. Is sea salt healthier than table salt? https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/is-sea-salt-healthier-than-table-salt

American Heart Association. Shaking the Salt Habit to Lower High Blood Pressure. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/changes-you-can-make-to-manage-high-blood-pressure/shaking-the-salt-habit-to-lower-high-blood-pressure