Years ago, salt and pepper were on every table and were used freely. Most people would not start a meal without taking a minute to liberally shake salt all over the food. The extreme example was – and still is – in every fish and chip shop, where it is still part of the ritual at the counter to flamboyantly sprinkle salt and vinegar over the paper wrapped parcel of calories, fat and delight. For the older generation, it is a habit that is hard to break.
Youngsters today, get their daily intake of salt hidden in the burger and fries, as they express their way through McDonald’s, or Burger King.
Every TV chef tops off the ingredients of their latest culinary masterpiece with a pinch or two or three of salt.
Then, we all finish off the day with a packet of ready salted crisps while we relax in front of the tele. Who remembers Smiths Crisps with a little blue wrap of salt secreted somewhere in the packet? My Godfather – Uncle Ken Thomas – was a very creative man and his claim to fame was that he was the man who designed the machine that poured the salt into the blue paper and twisted the bag.
Now, we find all that arm shaking and salt sprinkling was bad for us. There has long been an understood link between salt intake and high blood pressure and in turn strokes and heart attacks. Most of us managed to ignore such counselling after years of salt loving indoctrination.
A study at the University of Toronto claims to have established a link between high salt intake and dementia. Reasearchers looked at a group of 1,262 healthy men and women aged 67 to 84 and over a three-year period. They found those with a high salt intake had significantly greater memory loss.
The average British person’s intake of salt is 8.6 grammes per day which is well over the recommended limit of 6 grammes – 1 teaspoonful.
So stop eating crisps, go easy on processed foods and say no to salt on the fish and chips.
Unlearn the habit of a lifetime.