Black salt is a popular ingredient that is hailed for both its health benefits and its unique flavor and aroma. Available in many grocery stores and health food shops, it is widely used in Indian cooking, and is also utilized in vegan dishes, mainly as an egg substitute.
However, like all other types of salt, including regular table salt, black salt is high in sodium and must be consumed in moderation for a balanced diet.
Through Dr. Axe, the health benefits (as well as risks) of black salt and how it is compared to regular table salt, are discussed here:
Is It Different From Regular Table Salt?
One difference between black salt and regular table salt is how each is manufactured and produced.
Black salt is traditionally mined from regions surrounding the Himalayas, producing pink Himalayan salt. It is then combined with other spices, herbs and seasonings before being heated to very high temperatures. Today, many manufacturers mix compounds such as sodium chloride, sodium sulfate and ferric sulfate with charcoal (which gives a darker hue) to create synthetic black salt. Black salt is different from pink salt not just in color, but also by its savory, pungent flavor and aroma.
Regular table salt, on the other hand, is usually extracted from large rock salt deposits before being processed and refined, stripping it of most of its trace minerals. Though it can be used as a black salt substitute, it has a less complex flavor profile and may slightly alter the taste of some dishes.
In terms of nutrition, black salt generally has slightly less sodium compared to table salt. Table salt is usually iodized, having added iodine to protect against deficiency.
Both salts differ even in price. While a single ounce of black salt costs a dollar or more depending on the retailer, 1 or 2 pounds of regular table salt can often be purchased for less than a dollar in many grocery stores.
Compared to other types of salt, black salt is less processed and contains only small amounts of harmful additives or preservatives. Regular table salt, for example, contains anti-caking agents and other questionable ingredients.
Black salt is a good salt alternative for those seeking to reduce their sodium consumption. Cutting back on sodium has been shown in one study to help in lowering blood pressure levels. Conversely, excessive salt intake is linked to increased risk of stomach cancer and increased bone loss.
Some claim that black salt may be high in iron and other important minerals. However, there is limited evidence to suggest whether or not it contains higher amounts of these key minerals. In addition, it is unclear how beneficial the mineral content of salt can be since research has shown that the minerals in salt are hard to absorb by the body and that only small amounts can be consumed at a time.
Black salt is also used in traditional medicine, mainly to improve digestion, enhance skin and hair health, increase weight loss and reduce acid influx. Still, further research is needed to evaluate whether it is actually beneficial for these conditions.
Risks And Side Effects
Though lower in sodium content and less processed than regular table salt, there is little research supporting many of black salt’s other purported benefits. Like all other types of salt, black salt should be consumed in moderation.
It is also important to remember that table salt is typically iodized, with added iodine to prevent deficiency. Iodine itself plays a key role in thyroid function, fetal development and brain health. Black salt, by contrast, lacks added iodine, and so consumption of various iodine-rich food is a must.
Some research has shown that the flouride found in black salt can lead to dental fluorosis, characterized by changes in the teeth’s enamel as a result of excessive fluoride consumption. It is for this reason that children, in particular, should moderate black salt consumption to promote normal enamel formation.