Look after your heart – Cut down on
A study recently published in the British Medical Journal has shown that if people reduced their salt intake by 10%, millions of lives could be saved worldwide. This substantial reduction is also recommended by the World Health Organization, which has sounded alarm bells by attributing 1.65 million deaths across the world to the over-consumption of this seemingly innocuous mineral.
Despite its white colour and seeming simplicity, salt is no angel when it comes to our eating habits. It’s now proven beyond doubt that taking too much salt is extremely bad for our cardiac health. Although we shouldn’t consume more than 2g per day, most adults are very heavy-handed with this particular condiment, sprinkling it liberally over their dishes without regard for the time-bomb that’s ticking underneath their arteries. What’s more, these same consumers are often in a hurry, meaning that they tend to be fans of ready-made meals which are packed with flavour-enhancing salt.
Researchers led by Dariush Mozaffarian from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University (USA), believe that major public health campaigns are required to warn the wider public about the damage caused by the over-consumption of salt to our cardiovascular health (especially high blood pressure and strokes). This research has been bolstered by very precise figures – according to these calculations, reducing salt consumption over a ten year period would ward off around 5.8 million strokes each year.
At the same time, when consumed in moderation, especially in its unrefined form, salt is also an incredibly rich source of minerals. There are a number of kinds of high-quality salt which can be eaten in moderation: unrefined grey sea salt; ‘fleur de sel’ from Guérande, the Camargue, Noirmoutier, and the Ile de Ré; black lava salt from Hawaii and pink Himalayan salt. Above all, remember to go easy on the salt at meal-times – salt your food a pinch at a time. A pinch of salt is the amount of fine salt you can hold between your thumb, index finger and middle finger, i.e. 1g.
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