Jessica Alba drinks sole water to stay hydrated during hot yoga. Lauren Conrad avoided salt altogether, until she discovered sole water. Holistic nutritionist to the stars Kelly LeVegue recommends sole water to avoid water retention, curb premature aging and maintain a healthy cellular balance. The catch? Sole water’s reported health benefits haven’t been scientifically confirmed just yet. But that hasn’t kept the trendy Himalayan saltwater beverage from becoming a wellness trend. Here’s everything you need to know about sole water, including its reported health perks and how to make it at home.
RELATED: How to Make a Himalayan Salt Bath in 5 Easy Steps (Plus, the Major Health Benefits)
What Is Sole Water?
Sole water (pronounced so-lay) is water saturated with pink Himalayan salt. All there is to it is combining the salt and water in a container or jar and letting them soak for up to a day. Once it’s saturated, a small amount of the sole water is added to a glass of regular water and it’s ready to drink. Those who swear by sole water suggest using 1 teaspoon of sole water per 8-ounce serving of water. Here’s the thing: There’s not much research on its effectiveness, so much of the craze is fueled by users who have personally experienced its health benefits.
So, what’s so special about Himalayan salt in the first place that so many people swear by sole water’s effects? Himalayan salts, native to the Himalayan mountains in the Punjab region of Pakistan, have existed for about 200 million years. Himalayan salt is unrefined and additive-free, which is why it contains low amounts of more than 84 minerals and elements, trace minerals like iron, potassium, calcium and magnesium. The minerals are what make this kind of salt beneficial to consume (and turn it its signature hue of millennial pink), though you may associate Himalayan salt more with spa treatments and decorative salt lamps.
Depending on how it’s used, Himalayan salt is believed to aid in circulation and breathing, help calm inflammation and relieve stress. It’s also a great substitute for regular table salt, as it gives you lots of flavor with less sodium. Salt lamps specifically claim to aid in sleep, boost serotonin and reduce coughing and respiratory issues like asthma through purifying the air. They’re also placed in the home to create a calming, balanced energy (this is chalked up to the lamps’ negative ions, which balance the positive ions produced by our use of electronics).
We know, it sounds like a gimmick. But hear us out: Water follows where salt goes, so the lamps attract water vapor and suck mold and dust right out of the air like a lint trap. Realistically, it would take a ton of salt to cleanse the air of dirt and all negative ions, but enough people swear by Himalayan salt lamps and salt therapy to keep them trendy regardless.
What Are the Health Benefits of Sole Water?
Take these claims with a grain of salt. (Sorry.) There isn’t much scientific research on sole water that confirms its purported benefits, but hey—lots of health trends don’t have that (we’re looking at you, pickle juice), and people still swear by its ability to aid in weight loss or promote hormonal balance, for instance. At the end of the day, sole water is simply water and Himalayan salt, which won’t harm you if you drink it daily in small quantities—unless you already have high blood pressure, kidney disease or heart issues that require a low-sodium diet. If so, stay away from sole water altogether.
If you don’t have any sodium-related health issue, it’s still important to remember that too much sole water can lead to excessive sodium consumption. Whether or not it “works” health-wise only depends on your perception and experience while drinking it, so if you feel it’s safe for you to try and you’re intrigued by its potential, go for it. Here are a handful of health perks that sole water drinkers commonly claim.
Source of Minerals
Like standard table salt, Himalayan salt is mostly sodium chloride. This compound helps maintain healthy blood pressure and fluid balance in the body. But what about all those other tiny amounts of minerals like potassium and magnesium? Realistically, you’d have to drink a heck of a lot of sole water for it to be as good a source of these minerals as whole foods containing them are, so much so that the sodium content would negate the nutritional perks. But many swear by sole water’s ability to lower blood pressure and reduce cramps thanks to its mineral content. If you’re going to hop on the sole water bandwagon, think of it as a supplement to a healthy-ish diet rather than the heart of one.
Improves Digestive Health
It turns out that Himalayan salt supposedly stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid and other enzymes that break down food. These help the liver and intestines perform and result in easy food absorption and digestive regularity. In addition, some believe that salty beverages are a cue for your salivary glands to start working to break down food, leading to a release of amylase and overall better absorption of its nutrients and minerals. Once the salt is in your stomach, it will stimulate the production of hydrochloric acid and other enzymes that break down food.
Inspires Better Sleep
Himalayan salt may contain more sodium than any of its many minerals, but it’s actually lower in sodium than table salt. About 600 mg less per teaspoon, in fact. Sole water has even less since the salt is diluted and dissolved in water. But it’s still enough to promote some quality zzzz. Just know that most Americans consume way more than 1,500 mg of sodium a day, as recommended by the American Heart Association. The average American has about 3,400 mg on the daily instead. So, be sure to balance your sodium consumption throughout the day if you’re trying to incorporate sole water into your diet. In addition, sole water has been said to relax the nervous system due to its minerals’ ability to control the stress hormone, adeline, which would help one relax and unwind both physically and mentally.
Hydrates the Body
Sodium is key in maintaining a healthy fluid balance. If you don’t consume enough sodium, it can cause water loss and subsequent dehydration, and even more so if you regularly break a sweat at the gym or yoga class. This is because our bodies lose minerals (aka electrolytes) when we sweat—sole water replaces them in a way that plain water can’t, in theory. The mineral-rich hydration goes as far as helping your skin stay clear. Zinc, iodine, chromium and other minerals in Himalayan salt are known for boosting a fresh, clear face, helping heal infections and preventing acne. While sole water checks both water and sodium boxes, it’s important to remember that it isn’t as effective a source of sodium as foods that contain natural salt. Plus, you may be consuming a surplus of sodium per day anyway depending on your diet. Monitor your sodium intake to make sure you’re not having an excess before working sole water into your day-to-day.
Lowers Blood Pressure
You may associate salt with high blood pressure, but some well-versed in Ayurvedic medicine say that sole water can also impart positive energy on your body and improve blood circulation due to a balance of electrolytes. The minerals in Himalayan salt are said to help decrease high blood pressure. The quality of salt also makes a difference; table salt can spike blood pressure in a way that top-tier, mineral-rich salt doesn’t for most people free of sodium sensitivities. In fact, mineral sea salt has been used for thousands of years to treat various ailments, including high blood pressure.
Balances Charged Ions and Detoxes the Body
Mineral-rich Himalayan salt contains lots of electrolytes. They’re great for detoxing the body and help your kidneys do just that. Electrolytes carry a charge that ionizes when dissolved in water. When you’re making homemade sole water, the negative ions in the water molecules combine with the positive ions in the salt, electrically charging them. This makes the minerals in the sole water a breeze for your body to absorb.
Prevents Muscle Cramps
Himalayan salt is used in bath soaks for a reason. Its magnesium content can be absorbed through the skin and aid in soothing cramped muscles and sore, soft tissues. Its potassium content also helps combat muscle soreness.
How to Make Sole Water
There are two ways to consume sole water, and it’s largely dependent on your taste. You can have a glass (1 teaspoon sole water + 8 ounces water) daily in the morning on an empty stomach. Or, you can add 1 teaspoon of sole water to a quart of water and sip it all day long if the flavor is too intense. Himalayan salt is most commonly used to make sole water, but Himalayan stones or crystals will also do the trick. The amount of water and salt you use will vary based on the size of your container, but a solid rule of thumb is keeping a 3:1 ratio of water to salt.
Step 1: Add Himalayan salt to a mason jar until it’s a quarter of the way full.
Step 2: Fill the jar with water almost to the top and close it. Leave space in case you need to add more salt.
Step 3: Shake the jar and let it sit at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.
Step 4: If there’s still salt in the jar the next day, the water is saturated and ready to use. If all the salt dissolved, add small amounts to the water and wait until salt will no longer dissolve. This is how you’ll know the water is completely saturated.
Step 5: To drink it, add 1 teaspoon of the saturated sole water to 8 ounces of regular water.
Other Ways to Use Himalayan Salt
So, sole water is officially part of your diet and you’ve already ordered your Himalayan salt lamp. How else can you use Himalayan salt? Here are a few ideas for incorporating this pretty-in-pink ingredient into your beauty and wellness routines.
Foot soak: Warm up about a gallon of water in a foot bath. Mix in ⅛ cup Himalayan and magnesium salts, then submerge your feet to ease their pain and soften their callouses.
Body scrub: Combine 1 cup Himalayan salt with ¼ cup olive oil and a few drops of your favorite essential oil, like lavender or eucalyptus. Mix it well, then rub it over your skin in small, circular motions. Don’t want to DIY? Opt for premade body scrub
Salt bath: Wash your body first so nothing—shampoo, lotion, perfume—taints the salt bath. Fill the tub with warm water. While it’s filling, dump two to three scoops of Himalayan salt in so it can dissolve. Pro tip: Finely-ground salt will dissolve faster. Soak for 30 minutes, then pat your skin dry and have a glass of water. If you love this routine, indulge up to twice a week. If you’re in the market for a store-bought bath soak, we love this CBD-infused number.
Halotherapy: OK, so you won’t be able to pull this off at home…unless you live in a spa. But you’re overdue for some heavy-duty R&R anyway. Halotherapy, or salt therapy, involves breathing in tiny salt particles in a (typically gorgeous) salt-filled room. The salt particles mainly help relieve respiratory conditions like asthma and allergies by dissolving mucus and toxins in the airways and reducing sinus inflammation. Some also claim that halotherapy helps with snoring and sleep apnea, as well as skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
The TLDR on Sole Water
This saltwater sipper talks a big game for having little research to back it. But tons of people swear by sole water, including some nutritionists. So as long as you don’t have any health conditions requiring you to be on a low-sodium diet, drinking a glass of sole water a day shouldn’t hurt. Just don’t think it’s an equivalent replacement for mineral- and sodium-rich foods. Make sure you’re not consuming more sodium than recommended before incorporating sole water into your diet regularly.