Is Himalayan or unrefined salt a good source of minerals?

Which claims to take with a few grains of, umm, salt.

“Nutrient-dense,” says Terrasoul Superfoods Himalayan Pink Salt. “84 minerals.”

Its website’s advice: “Use daily in place of ordinary table salt to support optimum health, and to add a full spectrum of minerals to your diet.”

How much of those 84 minerals can you expect? Terrasoul has good data for only 23 of them, and for most of those, levels were less than 1 part per million.

The salt’s striking pink hue comes from traces of minerals like iron. A serving (¼ teaspoon) has 0 milligrams of iron, according to the label. Ditto for calcium and potassium.

Himalayan salt is “dense” in only two minerals—sodium and chloride. And the combo is far more likely to raise your blood pressure than to “support optimum health.”

“Real” Salt makes similar claims.

“Is your salt real?” asks Redmond Real Salt. Its key claims:

Minerals. Salt’s sodium “is best when paired with potassium—which occurs naturally, along with about 60 other trace minerals, in Real Salt,” says the company’s website. But you’d need more than 1¼ cups of Real Salt to get the potassium of a small banana. How much of the “60 other trace minerals” do you get? Here’s a clue: Gold and silver are on the list.

Iodine. Ordinary table salt isn’t natural because it’s mixed with potassium iodide, says Redmond. Iodine is added because it’s an essential nutrient, though we get it largely from seafood, bread, and dairy foods (it’s used to clean milking equipment).

Sugar. “Many salts contain anti-caking agents and even dextrose (sugar),” charges Real Salt. Yes, but you’d have to eat 8½ cups of Morton Iodized Salt, for example, to get a trivial 1 gram of sugar.

Photos (top to bottom): Terrasoul Superfoods, Real Salt.

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