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Many people claim that pink Himalayan salt offers incredible health benefits and that it is loaded with minerals. It is a type of salt that is mined in Pakistan, near the Himalayas and it is naturally pink in color. Is pink Himalayan salt really healthier than regular table salt or is it nothing more than speculation? This article looks at the evidence in order to determine whether pink Himalayan salt or regular salt offers the most health benefits and what the key differences are.
Need more info on what natural health products or supplements to buy? Authority Reports evaluate a wide variety of natural health products to determine what would be best for your unique situation.
What Exactly is Salt?
Salt is a mineral which largely consists of a compound called sodium chloride. Some people even use the words 'sodium' and 'salt' interchangeably—this is because salt contains around 98% of sodium chloride in weight. (Read more about the side effects, interactions and dosage instructions of sodium chloride).
There are two ways in which salt can be produced: by extracting it from underground salt mines (solid salt) or by evaporating salt water. Before it ends up on your dinner table, it also goes through a refining process in order to remove any other minerals (except for sodium chloride) and in order to remove any impurities. Sometimes anticaking agents are added in order to absorb moisture and often iodine is also included as this helps consumers to prevent ending up with an iodine deficiency.
It is absolutely essential to include salt in your diet as it plays an important role in muscle and nerve contractions as well as a variety of biological functions. On the other hand - too much salt can also lead to heart disease and high blood pressure. Many people have turned to pink Himalayan salt as they believe that it is a healthier alternative and because they believe that too much table salt can potentially be harmful to their health.
What is Himalayan Salt?
Himalayan salt gets extracted from the Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan, near the Himalayas. It is one of the largest and oldest salt mines to be found in the world. The salt that can be harvested from this mine has apparently been formed from the evaporation of large bodies of water in ancient times. It is believed that Himalayan salt is composed of remnants of the primal, original sea, as it comes from salt mines located more than 5000 feet deep below the Himalayan Mountain range. It has, therefore, experienced tremendous pressure over hundreds and thousands of years and is said to be extremely pure.
It is much more natural than table salt, as it has been minimally processed and hand-extracted, which makes it free of additives and also an unrefined product. It is also mostly comprised of sodium chloride, but because of the natural harvesting process, it also contains many other trace elements and minerals that are not included in regular table salt. It is estimated that it contains up to 84 different trace elements and minerals. It is these minerals and especially iron which gives it its pink color.
How Can Pink Himalayan Salt Be Used?
There are many non-dietary and dietary uses for pink Himalayan salt:
- Cook with it or eat it—you can use pink salt in the same way that you would use table salt. It can also be used as a cooking surface. Large blocks of salt can be used to sear, grill and impart a salty flavor to foods such as meats. It can be purchased in coarse varieties or finely ground.
- Non-dietary uses—it can be used to soothe sore muscles and improve skin by using it in a salt bath. Pink Himalayan salt lamps can also apparently remove air pollutants. It is also common for people to spend time in man-made pink Himalayan salt caves in order to improve respiratory and skin problems.
Health Claims of Pink Himalayan Salt
As mentioned above, both pink salt and regular table salt contain mostly sodium chloride, but pink salt has up to 84 other trace elements and minerals. These include minerals such as calcium, potassium, molybdenum, and strontium.
Studies show that table salt contains more sodium and that Himalayan salt contains more iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.
The following health claims are commonly made about pink salt:
- Increase libido
- Reduce signs of aging
- Improve respiratory disease
- Improve sleep quality
- Help to balance your body's pH
- Regulate blood sugar
Even though there are some studies that support the various benefits experienced when exposed to salt caves, such as the treatment of various lung diseases, there is little to support the health claims made above.
Researchers have found, for example, that very low-salt diets may contribute to sleeping issues, suggesting that an adequate amount of sodium is essential for quality sleep. The additional minerals that can be found in Himalayan salt are present in very small quantities, which means that it won't effectively balance your body's pH. Also, libido, aging and blood sugar levels are mostly controlled by other factors and there are no studies that suggest that pink salt will influence these aspects of your health. (Learn more about what foods will assist in controlling your blood sugar levels).
There are no studies at this stage that show that pink Himalayan salt has more health benefits than regular table salt. However, Himalayan salt would be more beneficial to your overall health and wellbeing as it does not contain any additives or harmful artificial ingredients, making it an excellent natural alternative. Also, remember that table salt is one of the main sources of iodine. If you are using Himalayan salt, make sure to get iodine from other food sources such as fish, dairy products and seaweed.
By installing solar panels, homeowners can curb their dependence on traditional utilities, reducing their monthly electric bills while also minimizing their environmental impact. Of course, solar energy is more viable in some places than in others; it's best suited for homeowners who live in areas that get ample sun exposure. And the Lone Star State is certainly on that list.
In fact, a report from the Solar Energy Industries Association, or SEIA, shows that Texas installed the second-most solar in 2020 and the most in the first quarter of 2021. And some municipalities have gone especially heavy on solar power. So, what are the top cities for solar in Texas? Let's find out if your city made our top 10 list.
Top 10 Cities for Solar in Texas
To rank the top cities for solar in Texas, the EcoWatch team took into account reports furnished by the SEIA, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's solar irradiance maps, and Environment America's most recent Shining Cities report among other data points.
Based on our findings, these we've determined the following cities to be Texas' top 10 solar energy hubs:
- San Antonio
- El Paso
- Fort Worth
- Round Rock
San Antonio is a sun-soaked city, so it makes sense that local home and business owners have invested heavily in harnessing the sun's power. We rate San Antonio as No. 1 among the top cities for solar in Texas, and there's plenty of evidence to back that up. In terms of total installed solar capacity, San Antonio ranks first in the state and fifth in the nation, according to Environment America. (First in the nation? Los Angeles.) It also boasts more than 50 watts of solar energy per person, one of just 38 cities in the nation to earn this distinction.
The Austin community is well-known for environmental activism and advocacy, and with residents' investments in solar energy, they're really putting their money where their mouth is. Like San Antonio, Austin boasts more than 50 watts of solar energy per person.
Thanks to its average of 302 days of sunshine annually, El Paso is nicknamed the "Sun City" — and it's taking advantage of its weather with over 54 MW of solar capacity installed. A lot of this comes down to significant solar installations built into the city's municipal infrastructure, including solar arrays on the main library and other government buildings.
A sprawling metropolitan area with ample exposure to sunlight, Houston has an impressive commitment to solar power. In terms of total installed solar energy capacity, the city is in the top 20 for the entire nation, falling just behind New Orleans and just in front of Boston in Environment America's latest Shining Cities report.
Fort Worth is home to some of the state's top solar companies, making it easy and relatively affordable for local homeowners to make the jump to solar power. The general Dallas-Fort Worth area tends to be a standout solar power hub, both at state and national levels.
Likewise, Dallas boasts an impressive level of solar investment. In the Shining Cities report of the nation's most prolific solar builders, Dallas ranks at No. 43 in the nation, just behind Cincinnati.
Located north of Dallas, Plano is in prime "Sun Belt" position. The city boasts a solid (and growing) solar infrastructure, earning it a place on our list. According to NREL's solar irradiance maps, Plano has some of the highest potential for residential roof-mounted solar power generation in the state.
This central Texas town just north of Austin is one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation. As the population expands, so does its commitment to clean, renewable energy. NREL maps show Round Rock is located in a part of the state with above-average annual solar power generation potential and a high number of buildings suitable for solar installation.
Though it's not as sizable as some of the other municipalities on our list, Bruceville-Eddy has a surprisingly robust solar infrastructure, allowing homeowners to harness the renewable energy of the sun. In fact, in the latest Shining Cities report, Bruceville-Eddy was reported as No. 1 in the state for per capita photovoltaic solar installation.
Rounding out our list is Tyler, located east of Dallas near the Texas-Louisiana border. Homes in Tyler represent a not-insignificant portion of the state's solar energy potential, according to NREL. The area has a high number of solar-suitable buildings and high roof-mounted solar potential in terms of both capacity and generation.
Where Solar Panels Work Best
There are a few different factors that can make a city particularly well-suited for solar energy. One is exposure to sunlight; consistent, year-round solar exposure is common throughout Texas, which explains why the Lone Star State has so many major solar-producing and solar-ready hubs.
Average Texas Electricity Costs
Another factor to consider? High energy costs. As a general rule, when local electrical costs are higher, the value of solar power increases. By contrast, if electrical costs are already low, the benefits of going solar tend to be more modest.
In 2019, the average monthly electric bill in Texas was just over $134, according to the EIA. This is considerably higher than surrounding states, including Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. The relatively high cost of electrical power makes Texas well-positioned for maximum solar benefits. Also note that the average monthly electric consumption was 1,140 kWh; again, this is higher than in neighboring states.
Texas Solar Tax Incentives
One reason some cities stand out over others for solar installations is that local utility companies offer rebates to help with the cost of solar panels. In addition to the federal tax rebate, which we'll explain in a moment, Texas homeowners should to aware of the following incentives:
|Solar Energy Incentive||Details|
|Statewide Property Tax Incentive||State law includes a property tax exemption for solar installations. Basically, this means installing solar panels increases the value of a home without increasing property taxes.|
|City-Specific Utility Incentives||Local utilities offer additional savings opportunities to residents of many cities across the state.|
Net Metering in Texas
Net metering programs allow solar users to take any excess energy their panels produce and sell it back to a local utility company. Currently, there is no statewide net-metering program in Texas, though some municipalities offer it to local utility users.
Homeowners are encouraged to check with their utility companies to see if they can get energy credits for any surplus solar energy they feed back into the electrical grid. Most of the best solar companies in Texas will also help you identify and apply for any tax breaks and rebates you're eligible for.
Federal Solar Tax Credits
As for federal programs, there is currently a 26% tax credit available for homeowners who install solar panels before 2023. In 2023, that incentive is set to lower to 22%, and it is scheduled to drop off completely in 2024.
Texas Solar Regulations
Statewide regulations also play a part in how and where Texans can install residential solar panel systems.
One regulation relevant to solar installation is Texas HB-362, which states that homeowners associations cannot ban solar panels within their community outright. However, homeowners must still go through their HOA's normal architecture review approvals process.
The Texas Property Code gives HOAs some specific grounds on which they can prohibit homeowners from installing solar panels, including:
- Instances where the solar installation is a threat to health or safety
- Installations that impede on public property or common areas
- Installations that extend higher than the roofline
- Installations that are ground-mounted but extend above the fence line
Final Thoughts: Top Cities for Solar in Texas
Did your city make our list of the 10 top cities for solar energy in Texas? If you want to raise your area's solar profile, one of the best ways is to install a solar panel system on your roof. You can also contact your local and state legislators to urge for ambitious city- and statewide renewable energy goals that will drive Texas toward more solar power in the future.