a civil society alliance for combatting chronic disease in the caribbean

Healthy Caribbean Coalition - Looking beyond salt

<< back to News index

By Lisa King | Tue, January 18, 2011 - 12:00 AM - Barbados Nation Newspaper (www.nationnews.com/index.php/articles/view/best-of-health-looking-beyond-salt/)

TASTE IS AN ACQUIRED thing and can change if people really want to.

With diabetes and hypertension so prevalent, Barbadians have been advised to change their eating habits or face the likelihood of contracting these diseases.

Their first step is to limit the amount of salt they use. They can do this by gradually reducing their salt intake. If the amount of salt used is reduced little by little over time then people will eventually adjust to the taste and be able to reduce the amount of salt they include in their diet without missing the taste in their food.

These views were expressed by Professor Trevor Hassell, chairman of the National Commission on Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (CNCDs), whose organisation is involved in a National Nutrition Improvement and Population Salt Reduction Programme in which several public service announcements running in the local media recently have been advocating the use of alternatives to salt in food preparation.

“The advertisements have generated a lot of interest. We had a lot of feedback from people who have said they have been really looking at the labels now when they are at the supermarket,” said Hassell, who admitted that even though no research has been done as yet there was anecdotal evidence showing the advertisements have been very effective. Hassell also debunked the myth that sea salt was a better option than table salt. No difference “There is no difference between sea salt and table salt. It is the sodium chloride that affects the body and sodium is found in both. There is no evidence to say that either of the two is better or that sea salt is less harmful,” he stressed.

To reduce the amount of salt used in the diet, Hassell gave these pointers.

  • Read labels and keep informed of the salt content of foods.
  • Do not add salt at the table whether eating at home or at restaurants.
  • When cooking be conscious of the harmful effects of sodium and try to reduce the amount added to food.

Monique McCollin had some difficulty persuading her aunt, who is hypertensive, that food could be cooked, tastily and healthily without the addition of a lot of salt and still not require sauces or gravy.

She said: “Gravy which is highly salted, spicy and full of butter is not necessary with rice if cooked with ample herbs.

I cook with lots of onion, garlic, ginger, [and] bay leaf, especially in my rice, and I don’t need gravy or sauces anymore and that has reduced the amount of salt that I use.”

Her aunt’s blood pressure is now under control with checks in the appropriate range and now that she is eating healthier she has lowered her risk of developing hypertension and diabetes which runs in the family.

Read the original article here www.nationnews.com/index.php/articles/view/best-of-health-looking-beyond-salt/

<< back to News index