In the remote mountains of Northern Pakistan, the Hunza Valley is a stunning region whose inhabitants are reported to enjoy good health, happiness and longevity. It’s also an area famous for its water, which trickles down the mountains from glacial formations. This water is thought to have special properties that contribute to the Hunza people's long, practically disease-free lives.
Genuine Hunza water that cascades down the Himalayan mountains and into bright blue lakes isn’t available worldwide, and you can’t buy it in bottles at your local grocery store. But while you can’t drink the real deal without buying an expensive plane ticket, taking off some time from work, and going on a hike, a couple of homemade “Hunza water” recipes are available that imitate the authentic product in a couple of fun and interesting, if not scientifically proven, ways.
Exploring the Hunza Valley’s “Blue Zone”
Located in the extreme northern region of Pakistan, the Hunza Valley has been classified as a “blue zone,” an area defined as that in which one of the healthiest, oldest populations of the world lives (other blue zones include Okinawa, Japan and Sardinia, Italy). Researchers believe that the people who live in these regions are healthy for a number of reasons, including the large amount of daily hiking they do, their overwhelmingly positive outlook on life, and their largely raw vegetarian diet.
Some also believe, though, that the low rates of disease and high average life spans can be traced to the unfiltered water they drink, sometimes called Hunza water. However, it’s important to note that the phenomenon has not been properly studied, and no scientific correlation exists between Hunza water and good health.
What Is Hunza Water?
Very simply, Hunza water is water from the Hunza Valley, which the population drinks unfiltered. Since the water flows from the glaciers in the mountains, Hunza water is purportedly filled with a high number of minerals, resulting in its unique blue-green color and a lower surface tension. It’s also alkaline, which means it has a higher pH than the water you likely drink on a daily basis. Some people believe that drinking alkaline water promotes wellness, protects against disease, and slows the aging process, but it’s a controversial topic.
Alternative health sources make a much larger number of claims about the benefits of Hunza water that range from believing that it contains negatively charged hydrogen ions that remove free radicals and toxins from the body, to saying that “mineral colloids” help the body efficiently deliver nutrition to its cells. These statements haven’t been proven and are problematic, and much of the history and research about Hunza water that you see on alternative wellness websites is either unconfirmed by a scientific source or completely false.
What Is Crystal Energy Hunza Water?
Widely available online, “Crystal Energy Hunza Water” is a product that claims to, “with a few drops,” turn all your water into Hunza water and eliminate your water’s toxins and add nutrients, ultimately increasing your life span. The product has not been proven to have anti-aging affects, although its makers claim it’s backed by research. This water is promoted by Dr. Patrick Flanagan, a man with a long history of selling and developing products with wild claims, but no scientific backing – and his doctorate appears to have come from a so-called “diploma mill.” A number of scientists have refuted his claims, and some have gone as far as calling him a huckster, snake oil salesman or a quack. Since it’s classified as a dietary supplement, this product hasn’t been evaluated by the FDA.
The bottom line? Spending your money on an online Hunza water product is probably not worth it, and it could even be unsafe.
How to Make Your Own Hunza Water
Obviously, recreating the water found in the Hunza Valley isn’t possible. But it is possible to recreate a few of the features of the water that some believe have health benefits, namely, the high mineral content and its alkaline pH. One recipe also involves placing the water in sunlight, recreating mountain water’s journey through nature and over waterfalls, which is a nice thought.
It’s important to remember that, while myths abound that Hunza water is a fountain of youth, your own Hunza water has no proven health benefits. With that said, the sodium and other minerals in Hunza water likely work as electrolytes, which can help you keep hydrated. And there’s some evidence that alkaline-ionized water could help people who struggle with acid reflux, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Talk to your doctor before starting any kind of routine health and wellness treatment or natural supplement, especially if you’re taking any prescription medications or have complicated health issues.
What Is Pink Himalayan Salt?
Both of these Hunza water recipes contain pink Himalayan salt, a special variety of salt mined from the Himalayan Mountains in Pakistan in the Khewra Salt Mine not too far from the Hunza Valley. Researchers believe this salt deposit was caused by the evaporation of an ancient body of water millions of years ago.
Like Hunza water, pink Himalayan salt is high in a number of other minerals (some say up to 84 different elements) that provide its characteristic pink color. However, only about 2% of the salt product is composed of minerals other than sodium.
Many cooks replace table salt with pink Himalayan salt, and some believe it adds more nutrients to dishes. It’s also used in bath salts and other types of beauty and wellness products. You can buy salt lamps made of large blocks of the product. Manufacturers of these lamps claim they rid the surrounding air of pollutants by ionizing the air as the light heats the salt.
The Health Benefits of Pink Himalayan Salt
Pink Himalayan salt contains minerals that regular table salt doesn’t, including magnesium, calcium and potassium. These nutrients are vital to health, although only small amounts of each are in the salt.
Pink Himalayan salt also has a “saltier” flavor than table salt, which means that you can use less of it to get the same amount of flavoring, therefore lowering your overall sodium intake.
Finally, sodium itself can be good for the body (and is an essential nutrient, even though it sometimes gets a bad rap). Salt helps muscles function, promotes nerve function and prevents dehydration. It can also help prevent low blood pressure.
How to Make Your Own Hunza Water: Pink Himalayan Salt Sun Water
If you’re aware that your Hunza water won’t result in your looking 25 years old and living forever, but you still want to make an imitation batch at home, there are a couple of ways to do it. This first Hanza water recipe simply uses pink Himalayan salt and sunlight to create a naturally satisfying glass of specialty water. Here’s what you need:
- A large clear glass jar or pitcher with a lid
- A smaller Mason jar with a lid
- Small chunks of pink Himalayan salt
- A sunny window or porch
- Filtered water
Fill the large jar with filtered water and set it in the sun. Putting the water in the sun increases the chi, or life force of the water. This simulates the water’s journey from the glacier down the mountain. Let the water sit in the sun for at least a day.
While filtered water is a great option, don’t use distilled water. Distilled water has all its mineral content removed from it, giving it a flatter taste and causing it to leach small amounts of minerals from your own body.
Place your salt chunks in the small jar. You can buy fist-sized pink Himalayan salt chunks at health food stores or online for reasonable prices. Place a couple at the bottom of your small jar.
- Fill the jar with sun water.
- Secure the lid and wait for 24 hours so the minerals can seep into the water.
- Mix your saltwater and your sun water.
After a day or so, mix a teaspoon of the saltwater with a glass of your sun water and enjoy. You can continue to refill your sun water regularly and to refill your saltwater jar with sun water. When the salt crystals all dissolve, just drop new ones in.
Occasionally rinse out and thoroughly clean both your pitcher and the jar to keep your water clean and sanitary.
How to Make Your Own Hunza Water: Alkaline Himalayan Saltwater
Although lemons are acidic, they have an alkaline effect on the body when digested. This water recipe provides the dual benefits of sodium and minerals along with an alkaline liquid. Here’s what you need:
- A large pitcher
- Fine-grained pink Himalayan salt
- A lemon
- Filtered water
Fill the pitcher with clean, filtered water. Add the lemon, which you can quarter or slice. Mix in a teaspoon of pink Himalayan salt, and allow it to sit overnight at room temperature (or 8 to 12 hours). Drink a small glass each day.
What Does Hunza Water Taste Like?
Hunza water from the Hunza Valley can have an almost metallic taste, thanks to its high levels of minerals. These Hunza water recipes result in water that tastes somewhat like any other clean, filtered water – though the second recipe results in water with a refreshing lemon kick.
Is Hunza Water Dangerous to Drink?
Drinking unfiltered mountain water has dangers, even though it may seem crystal clear and perfect. For example, it might be contaminated with bacteria, protozoa and parasites, all left behind by animal or human waste. So, if you happen to find yourself in the mountains of Pakistan on the bank of a rushing forest stream, don’t just drink water right from the source without treating it first.
However, these Hunza water recipes should be completely safe to drink – although drinking too much sodium can result in adverse health effects. To avoid consuming too much salt, be sure to drink your Hunza water in moderation. Also, always use clean, filtered water as your base when making Hunza water.
When Should You Drink Hunza Water?
You can drink Hunza water any time of the day. Drinking it in the morning may fit nicely into your routine and help you start your day, through you may want to drink it when you’re feel dehydrated or after exercise since it helps replace needed electrolytes.
- Very Well Health: The Hunza Valley as the Original Shangri La
- Live Primal: Hunza Water
- Happy Body Formula: The Longevity Secrets Of Hunza Water
- Healthline: Is Pink Himalayan Salt Better Than Regular Salt?
- Medical News Today: Does pink Himalayan salt have any health benefits?
- My Domaine: How to Make Your Own Alkaline Water
- Daily Dot: How A Mystic Raised $250,000 On Indiegogo
Sarah Aswell is a freelance writer living in Montana.