The black salt it is a fairly popular ingredient in Indian cuisine and from nearby countries. It has a unique flavor that extols a wide variety of dishes. In addition, there are several theories that claim that it offers health advantages compared to common salt. Keep in mind that more than 75% of your daily sodium intake comes from the salt found in processed foods.
In this article we want to examine what exactly black salt is and its possible implications for health, as well as its comparison with common salt.
What is black salt?
Black salt is a rock salt whose origin is established in the salt mines of Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh and other places in the Himalayas.
Although there are different types of this salt, the Himalayan black salt it is one of the most common. Its use was first analyzed in the Ayurvedic medicine, based on a very popular traditional approach from India.
Interestingly and despite its name, the black salt of the Himalayas is pinkish brown.
Ayurvedic healers claimed that Himalayan black salt had therapeutic qualities. However, these claims do not have solid research by scientific experts so it should not be associated with medicine.
Types of black salt and main uses
Currently, there are 3 main types of black salt We will analyze each of them and evaluate their properties.
Himalayan black salt
The black salt of the Himalayas, is one of the most famous, and can also be called Indian black salt or kala namak.
It has a spicy, salty and umami flavor, and is commonly used in cooking, especially in Asian and Indian cuisine. Given its slight sulfurous aroma, similar to that of eggs, it is used in vegan cuisine to provide a flavor to this protein.
Although it has been recognized for its medicinal benefits, the reality is that there are few studies support these claims.
Black lava salt
Black lava salt is also called Hawaiian salt, as it usually comes from there.
While black Himalayan salt has a pinkish-brown hue, black lava salt is true to its name, with a deeply dark color.
It has a distinct and slightly smoky flavor. It is usually applied on food at the end of its preparation, so that they take some more flavor.
Black ritual salt, also referred to as witch salt, is a mixture of ash, sea salt and charcoal. The big difference is that it is not used for consumption.
Some people believe that witch salt has magical abilities to protect against negative spirits. Believers apply it in the yard or stored in a jar under their bed to protect themselves.
It is not currently backed by science.
Although this superstitious practice is probably harmless, it is not suggested, and there is no evidence to support its use.
How is black salt different from regular salt?
Black salt differs from table or common salt in the way it is obtained and the taste.
Differences Manufactured differently
Himalayan black salts are born from himalayan pink salt, which is another type of rock salt.
Formerly, this was mixed with different types of herbs, seeds and spices, later heated to high temperatures.
Today, most black salts are manufactured synthetically using sodium chloride, sodium sulfate, sodium bisulfate and ferric sulfate. In addition, it is mixed with charcoal and heated before the final product is finished. Therefore, it contains impurities (sulfates, sulfides, iron and magnesium, among others) that give it its color, smell and characteristic flavor.
In general, these impurities are not classified as harmful to your health. Sulfates are safe for consumption and are used in many foods to control the growth of pathogenic bacteria.
The black lava salt, on the other hand, was made using volcanic lava. However, currently only the sea salt with activated charcoal.
Most of it is obtainede of large deposits of rock salt, being the result of ancient evaporated oceans. The largest producers of this product worldwide are the United States, Canada, Germany, Eastern Europe and China.
In general, the different black salt options offer a higher intensity flavor than ordinary salt.
For example, black Himalayan salt gives a sulphurous aroma unique to Asian and Indian cuisine, while black lava salt produces an earthy, smoky flavor.
Possible Health Benefits
Replacing black salt with common salt can have several benefits for our body.
May contain less sodium than tabletop
Commercial table salt may have a higher sodium content than naturally derived black salt. This is due to the source of provenance, although this is not always true. Therefore, for people with hypertension or with problems derived from diets high in sodium, it may be advisable to replace the common one with the black one.
However, for people with these problems, the idea is to limit it to the minimum possible, since diets rich in sodium have been linked to high blood pressure. Therefore, it is important to read the nutritional label of the product, since the sodium content can vary widely depending on the brand.
Read more: 12 foods that lower blood pressure.
May contain fewer harmful additives
This seasoning may contain fewer additives than regular table salt. This is because their production involves less processing and fewer additives are added.
A negative aspect of common salt is that they are usually added anti-caking agents. These can be harmful to your health depending on the amount, and are added to prevent the formation of lumps that offer negative value to the consumer.
Among the commonly used anti-caking agents is potassium ferrocyanide (potassium iodate or aluminium silicate, which can be broken down into substances harmful to human health and the environment.
Potassium iodate may increase fat oxidation, a harmful cellular process that can cause tissue damage and increase the risk of various diseases
It is important to distinguish between potassium iodate and potassium iodide, the latter being considered positive. In fact, there are more and more cases of iodine deficiency, the main cause of hypothyroidism and can cause other health problems.
Is it healthier than the common one?
The higher mineral content of this seasoning may not be as relevant, as our body cannot absorb them as well and the amounts consumed are (or should be) very small.
The minerals in salt are not easily absorbed because most are insoluble, which means that they cannot be diluted in water.
Another problem we encounter is trying to generalize, as we find really different products. Many black salts available for purchase are manufactured synthetically, so they do not provide any added mineral benefit.
Since this salt contains fewer additives than common salt, it can be an interesting option if we want avoid anti-caking agents.
Regardless of the type, the ideal is to consume salt in moderation. Health authorities recommend a maximum intake of 2,300 mg of sodium daily, the equivalent of less than one tablespoon of salt. The main problem is that more than 75% of the daily sodium intake comes from the salt found in processed foods.