Not only pretty to look at, pink salt has been touted as having more minerals and micronutrients than regular white table salt. But a new study has debunked the idea that pink salt is better for you – with some pretty alarming findings.
If you’re into all things wellbeing, chances are, you’ve got a salt shaker filled to the brim with pretty pink salt sitting in your pantry. After all, it’s healthier than plain white salt, right? Well, not really…
The deal with pink salt
A quick Google search will tell you that pink salt can do anything from improve your sleep to fight ageing, and even boost your libido. You’ll also find claims that pink salt offers far more micronutrients than standard white salt, and so is nutritionally superior. New Australian research, however, has just debunked this myth – with some pretty alarming findings.
The study looked at a range of pink salt brands available in Australian supermarkets. The researchers found that while some beneficial nutrients were found in higher quantities in pink salt compared to white salt (think: iron, calcium and magnesium), there was a range of potentially harmful compounds found in pink salts, too.
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Aluminium, silicon and sulphur were among the non-nutritive compounds found in the pink salt samples. The presence of lead in pink salts was the most concerning finding, with one brand containing over 100 times that of white table salt, exceeding the safe level of contaminants set by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand.
Time to put down the (pink) salt shaker?
Salt, regardless of its colour, isn’t the best thing for your health. It’s packed with sodium, which can elevate your blood pressure, and if consumed in excess, can lead to a host of health problems including heart failure, kidney stones and even stomach cancer.
Pink salt is no exception, and could actually be doing you even more harm due to the potential presence of contaminants.
10 ways to cut back on salt
The reality is that most of us eat far too much salt. Yes, we need some sodium for our bodies to function properly, but we can get all that we need from basic wholefoods (seafood, bread and milk, for example). There’s no need to add salt – the fancy pink kind, or otherwise – to you meals, either in cooking or at the table.
If you’re looking to cut back on salt, here are my top ten tips for ditching the salt shaker. And don’t think your food is going to be bland and boring forever – your taste buds quickly adapt to less salt and will appreciate the use of other flavour makers to liven up your meals.
- Swap salt for fresh herbs and spices on chicken and fish.
- Ditch store-bought condiments in place of chilli and garlic.
- Make your own sauces at home from scratch (goodbye jars of bolognese sauce).
- Swap stock for water in soups and stews.
- Replace processed meats, like sausages and bacon, with fresh beef or pork.
- Opt for fresh fruit or yoghurt over-processed snacks like chips and pretzels.
- Choose reduced and no-added-salt- varieties where possible.
- Get creative in the kitchen and make your favourite takeaways at home. Pizza night, anyone?
- Drain and rinse canned beans under running water to wash away some of the salt.
- Experiment with citrus fruits (lemon, lime, orange) for a different flavour punch on proteins.
Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.