Sunday, January 29, 2023
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Are you ready to substitute salt with herbs and spices?

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?” King James Bible-Matthew 5:13

Around 6000BC, in the ancient Roman times was the earliest evidence of salt. It was a precious commodity and hard to come by, thus the saying “salt of the earth”  metaphorically signifys; durability, usefullness, value, and often used to compliment people of reliability, loyalty, fidelity, purity and of great worth.  

Lets go down in history  a bit on how salt came to be the most wanted food seasoning of all times —

  • The cycle of nature — Animals fed on vegetation, in turn carnivorous animals fed on these veg eating animals and man hunted and gathered all animals and plants as food and that is how the early hunters first got the taste of salt from the animal meat they ate, as they turned into gatherers and agriculture, they found that the soil gave this salty flavor to vegetables too. The taste of salt of the earth spread naturally.
  • Where did salt come from? Through volcanic activity and under the ocean from rocks.
  • Salt extraction began in Romania by boiling spring water. 
  • Later, the Egyptians realised that sodium draws bacteria-causing moisture out of food and could be processed and preserved. They then experimented by using sodium to dry meats, which made it possible to store meat for extended periods of time without it spoiling.(as there were no refrigerators then.)
  • Some types of salt include — rock salt, refined salt, pink salt, kosher salt. 
  • Methods of recovering salt from the ocean include — 

Weathering: as soon as water comes into contact with rock, the weathering process begins and leach the soluable elements out of the rock.

Evapouration: of salt deposits from sedimentary beds.

Salt mining: by room and pillar method.

      Solar evapouration: being the latest techonology used.

 

With all of this progress and types of salt commercially available, researchers have cautioned us that this mineral Sodium Chloride NaCl, and the whole of mankind developing a taste for salt from birth can be detrimental to health.

Is adding salt to your food or eating salty preserved snacks sending messages that you really are sitting on a time bomb?

 

What experts have to say —

 

– If you have a saltshaker on your dining table and add it to your plate of food, you have a 28% increased risk of dying prematurely. (Before the age of 75)

– If you are a smoker, consume alcohol, lack physical activity, have a BMI of 25 plus, and your salt intake is above 2300 mg per day, you are at a huge risk for diseases such as: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or cancer. 

– If you increase the intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, it weakens the risk extra salt intake and premature death.

– Even a modest reduction of daily salt intake can improve your health in general.

– Salt addiction can get out of control very quickly if you are not mindful.

– If heart disease runs in your family, check your salt intake from a young age, while you are young and healthy.

– Is one salt better than the other? “Salt by any name is salt” The only difference is whether it has been iodized or not. Sea salt and table salt are naturally iodized while Himalayan and Kosher salt are not generally iodized. Iodine is one chemical that our bodies do not produce and is needed for a healthy body especially the Thyroid gland.

– Switching from table salt to salt substitutes can reduce the risk of strokes in people over sixty especially those with a history of high blood pressure or prior stroke.

– Potassium Chloride as a substitute is a problem, as we age our kidney function naturally slows down and since our kidneys are a filtering device, putting potassium on our food will slow down the kidney function GFR (glomerular filtration rate)

 

BE MINDFUL — If you have grown up in a household where salt and pepper shakers are on the table and adding more salt to your plate is considered normal. This grows into an affinity to salt and salty foods and further grows into a desire for more and more seasoning to be added to your food (pickles, soy sauce, chili vinegar, chili sauce, ketchup.) and your food choices grow into eating more processed, salty food to natural healthy foods like fruit, vegetables, lean protein. It leaves you in satiated.

Recommendations to modify eating behaviors by reducing salt intake and improving health  —

  • After you serve yourself, stop and look at your plate, how much salt are you consuming at this meal?
  • When shopping, look at food labels, read the sodium content and opt for low sodium content foods (140mg or less per serving) High sodium foods and condiments such as: rice or noodle packets with seasoning, ready to eat meals, canned soups-meats-fish, breads, soy sauce, ketchup, pickles, teriyaki sauce, worchester sauce, most salad dressings.
  • Our taste buds get acclimatised to our sweet, salty, or spicy food intake and it takes time and persistence to work any of these tastes up or down. Start by adding less salt at the source, while cooking your food. I for one do not add salt to rice, rotis, kachambar, this brings down the salt intake easily and your taste buds do eventually adapt.
  • One more practice I began years ago is enjoying fruit, herbs, salads and vegetables in its raw natural form and actually tasting its original flavor. Without dressing, or seasoning and eating them one at a time instead of mixed bowl. This way you enjoy the natural flavour. This is naturally salt free eating and dissolves the salt from other foods you consume.
  • Add dried or fresh herbs and seasonings like garlic, onion powder instead of salt or salt-based seasonings. Change what you eat!
  • Dine at home most of the time when you are making the switch, this way you have full control of salt usage and intake. Sodium can hide just anywhere!

So is Pink Himalayan salt, kosher salt or regular salt good for me? 

None is the answer.

While it takes time to make the switch and see huge health benefits — less bloating, water retention, reduction in blood pressure and easier weight loss.

The positives are clear!

 

Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

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1 COMMENT

  1. It’s s real pleasure readind Vinitas inputs, so also the docs chats come sat evening. Save the fiasco if the English singing competition. Which led to alot of embarrassment . Seniors today is doing a creditable job.

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