Nutritional Facts of Black salt

 Nutritional Facts of Black salt

Black salt is a type of rock salt. It contains principally sodium chloride (NaCl) along with traces of other salts. (1) The presence of other salt is responsible for its unique color and flavor. Black salt has certain medicinal benefits for which it is traditionally used in Ayurveda from long back ago. We should know more regarding the nutritional facts of black salt and should utilize the health potentials of black salt.

Black salt is also known as “Himalayan salt” and “Himalayan rock salt”. In most parts of India, black salt is called as “kala Namak”. But it is famous as “Bit Lobon” among the Bengali population whereas “Intuppu” is the term used by the Tamil people to describe black salt. (2

Nutritional Facts of Black salt-OBlack sat also called as Himalayan rock salt

Composition of black salt

Black salt is mainly consisting of sodium chloride but it also contains many other minerals like sodium (Na), Potassium (K), Magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca), Iron (Fe), Silicon (Si), strontium (Sr), Lithium (Li), Chlorine (Cl) and Sulphur (S). The benefits of black salt are mainly exhibited due to the presence of trace amounts of these minerals in black salt. 

The percentages of major components of black salt are mentioned in the following table (Table-2) whereas the elements are present in it in minute amounts. (3)

Table-1: Composition of black salt (values per 100g)

Mineral Components Amount
Sodium (Na)  37.83g or 3783mg
Chloride (Cl) 60.3g
Potassium (K) 87mg
Sulphur (S)  450mg
Iron (Fe) 43.1mg

Reference (4)

What are the salts present in the black salt? 

Black salt is a mixture of many salts that have their specific contribution to the taste, smell, and color of black salt (Table-2). .(1)

Table-2: Specific role of components in the taste, smell and color of black salt

Components of black salt or kala namak The specific role of components in the
taste, smell and colour of black salt
Sodium chloride provides the salty taste of kala namak
Iron sulfide provides the dark violet or purple
colour of kala namak
Sodium sulfate All the sulfur compounds give kala namak its slight
savoury taste a highly distinctive smell, with hydrogen
sulfide being the most prominent contributor to the smell.The acidic bisulfates and bisulfites contribute a mildly
sour taste.
Sodium bisulfate
Sodium bisulfite
Sodium sulfide
Nutritional Facts of Black salt- sprinkle black salt on cut fruit and enjoy

Nutritional potentials of Black salt 

Black salt contains a trace amount of many minerals, each of which plays many roles in our body. The nutritional potential of black salt depends on the key functions of these minerals, which are summarised in table-3.

Key functions of certain minerals present in black salt

  Sodium (Na)

  • Sodium is an essential nutrient necessary for the maintenance of plasma volume.
  • It regulates the acid-base balance of the body.
  • It is needed for the transmission of nerve impulses.
  • It is essential for normal cell functions. 
  • It maintains our blood pressure.
  • It regulates the distribution of water in different body compartments. (5)

  Potassium (K)

  • Potassium-rich foods help to prevent hypertension (high blood pressure).
  • It reduces the risk of stroke.
  • It is essential for maintaining electrolyte balance(sodium-potassium balance) of our body.
  • It maintains the acid-base balance of the body. (6,7,8,9)

  Magnesium (Mg)

  • Magnesium is an important element of bones.
  • Adequate intake of magnesium intake is essential for the prevention of cardiac diseases.
  • It is beneficial for those suffering from high blood pressure.
  • Magnesium plays several functions in the human body including its role as a cofactor for more than 300 enzymatic reactions.
  • Magnesium can play an important therapeutic and preventive role in several conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, asthma, premenstrual syndrome, pre-eclampsia, migraine, hyperlipidemia, cardiovascular diseases, migraine headache, metabolic syndrome. (10,11,12,13,14)

  Calcium (Ca)

  • Calcium is an essential mineral for our body. 99% of calcium is found in teeth and bone.
  • It is required for blood clotting.
  • It helps in regulating the heartbeat.
  • It is required for proper neuro-muscular functions.
  • It plays several other functions in our bodies.
  • Long term calcium deficiency can lead to osteoporosis in which the bone deteriorates and there is an increased risk of fractures. (11,12,13,14,15)

  Iron (Fe)

  • Iron is essential for our health and wellness.
  • It is a component of hemoglobin present in the red blood cell.
  • The deficiency of iron leads to anemia. In severe cases, anemia increases the risk of death. (16,17,18)

  Silicon (Si)

  • Silicon is a major (naturally occurring) trace element in the human body derived predominantly from the diet.
  • Silicon plays an essential role in bone formation and maintenance. (19,20,21)

  Strontium (Sr)

  Strontium can improve the health of bones and teeth. It reduces the pain of osteoarthritis. 

  Sulphur (S).

  Sulfur is an essential mineral required for the normal functioning of the body. (22,23)

Summary

Black salt a type of natural rock salt containing principally sodium chloride and traces of other salts. Iron sulfide is responsible for the dark violet or purple color of kala namak whereas sulfur compounds are responsible for the slight savory taste and characteristic smell of the black salt. Black salt has certain medicinal benefits for which it is traditionally used in Ayurveda from long back ago.

Kala namak contains traces amount of many important minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, silicon, strontium, sulfur, etc. Every mineral has specific functions in the body and is essential for the normal functioning of the human body.

What is “common salt” or “Table salt”?

Both “common salt” and “Table salt” are the same. It is pure Sodium Chloride (NaCl).

Nutritional Facts of Black salt- black salt goes well with fruit juice

Why black salt is preferred than common salt in our daily diet?

For your health black salt is better than common salt (NaCl) because-

1.Black salt contains less sodium than the commonly used table salt. The sodium content of common salt (sodium chloride) is 390 mg sodium/g whereas that of black salt is 378.3 mg sodium/g.In today’s world, we are habituated to consume a lot of processed foods and fast foods which are rich sources of sodium. For avoiding lifestyle disorders like high blood pressure, we should try our level best to reduce the sodium content of our diet. Replacing the use of common salt in cooking with black salt is a major step for restricting our sodium intake. (24)

2. Black salt is good for our health. It contains many types of minerals which have specific functions in our body. Scientific studies recommend the use of branded black salt in place of table salt. (25

3. It improves the digestive capacity. It is traditionally used in ayurvedic to improve digestion. (26)

4. It reduces the tendency of excess intestinal gas production and hyperacidity (27). Black salt acts as a mild laxative. Partial replacement of common salt with black salt in cooking helps to relieve constipation. (28). Black salt helps to maintain normal blood glucose levels and reduces the risk of getting Diabetes Mellitus. (29). Due to lower sodium content, black salt is good for those suffering from high blood pressure (hypertension) and/or cardiac problems.

Summary

Black salt contains a comparatively lesser amount of sodium chloride than that is present in common salt. We are habitually consuming more amount of sodium chloride than that is recommended. So be judicious enough and reduce your sodium intake by simply replacing the table salt with black salt. It is the easiest way to reduce the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure) without compromising your taste of foods. Black salt is also beneficial for those suffering from the cardiac problem and/ or Diabetes Mellitus.

Black salt helps to improve the digestive capacity and is used to reduce the tendency of intestinal gas formation and acidity. It is good for those tend towards constipation.

What are the uses of black salt?

Black Salt / Bit Lobon / kala namak is used extensively in many South Asian countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, India, and Pakistan as a condiment.

  • It is widely used in the preparation of spicy and crispy foods like chaats, chotpoti, fuchka, etc.
  • It is a major ingredient of chat masala.
  • Black salt is usually added to the deep-fried snacks to improve their taste.
  • Black salt is added to various types of salads like vegetable salads, fruit salads, corn and peas salads, mixed salads etc.
  • Black salt is commonly used for making chutneys and pickles.
  • It is a well-known condiment, used in the preparation of Raita.
  • It is used to season tofu.
  • It is an essential ingredient used in making pani-puri.
  • It is a basic ingredient for making the most popular Indian probiotic drink “chaas”.
  • It is used to spice up the cool summer drinks like jaljeera and many more sarbot
Nutrition facts of black salt - goes well with Indian chat

Summary

Black Salt / Bit Lobon / kala namak is used extensively in many South Asian countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, India, and Pakistan as a condiment. It is widely used in the preparation of spicy and crispy foods like chaats, chotpoti, fuchka, snacks, etc. 

So, guys, after knowing the nutritional potentials of black salt in details, it is our responsibility to replace the commonly used table salt with black salt, to achieve the maximum health benefits. Be aware, don’t increase your daily salt consumption that is the total intake of table salt and black salt in a day. Rather you should try to reduce your total salt intake as reducing the daily salt intake reduces the risk of getting hypertension and cardiac diseases.

Bottom Line

Black salt contains principally sodium chloride along with traces of other salts. Iron sulfide is responsible for the dark violet or purple color of kala namak,and sulfur compounds are responsible for the characteristic smell and taste of the black salt. 

From long back, black salt is used in Ayurveda due to its certain medicinal benefits.Kala namak contains traces of potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, silicon, strontium, sulfur, etc. are essential for the normal functioning of the human body.

Black salt contains a comparatively lesser amount of sodium chloride than that is present in common salt. So, replacing common salt with black salt reduces the daily sodium intake and thus helps to prevent and treat hypertension (high blood pressure). Black salt is also beneficial for those suffering from the cardiac problem and/ or Diabetes Mellitus. Black salt helps to improve the digestive capacity and is used to reduce the tendency of intestinal gas formation and acidity. It is good for those tend towards constipation.

Black Salt / Bit Lobon / kala namak is used extensively in many South Asian countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, India, and Pakistan as a condiment. It is widely used in the preparation of spicy and crispy foods like chaats, chotpoti, fuchka, snacks, etc.

So, guys, after knowing the nutritional potentials of black salt in details, it is our responsibility to replace the commonly used table salt with black salt, to achieve the maximum health benefits. Be aware, don’t increase your daily salt consumption that is the total intake of table salt and black salt in a day. Rather you should try to reduce your total salt intake as reducing the daily salt intake reduces the risk of getting hypertension and cardiac diseases.

Dr. Sagarika Chakraborty

Dr. Sagarika Chakraborty was awarded her doctorate in Food and Nutrition from University of Calcutta (C.U.) in 2017. She is an experienced Researcher, working in the field of Food Science for more than 12 years and published papers in international and national journal. She has also presented papers in national conferences.

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2 Comments

  • How about Iodine? Table salt is fortified with iodine. But black salt doesnt have it. Can you pls comment on this?

    • Thanks Sneha for your question. Yes, you are right. That is the reason switching completely to black salt is not recommended. Rather it has been advised to mix iodized salt with black salt for daily usage. It will provide the necessary iodine as well as lower the sodium load on body.

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