Abstract The effect of sodium chloride (NaCl) diffusion into meat was investigated. Proton and sodium magnetic resonance imaging were used to determine the diffusion behaviour of brine (NaCl) in porcine Longissimus dorsi and semitendinosus. NaCl diffusion was visualized through images and diffusion coefficients were determined to be in the range 3–7 × 10 −10 m 2 s −1, which is in agreement with values reported in the literature. The diffusion coefficient was found to increase during curing, suggesting microstructural changes in the meat. A supplementary experiment proved that the diffusion behaviour of sodium chloride in regions of meat with connective tissue/fat is distinctive from regions with pure myofilament tissue, as anticipated. Apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) maps showed that meat microstructures shrunk when cured with 20% (w/w) NaCl brine. ADC across (⊥) the main muscle fiber direction decreased more than ADC along (‖) the main muscle fiber direction. The greater shrinkage in the direction across muscle fibers suggests that the curing induced shrinkage of the transverse structures rather than reduction in longitudinal structures.