a civil society alliance for combatting chronic disease in the caribbean

Healthy Caribbean Coalition - "Shaking Free of Salt"

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First Published on: 5/28/2010. Barbados Nation - BY KAMMIE HOLDER

DOCTORS ARE RUNNING IN PANIC, children crying and family members screaming: "Don't let him die." But it's too late, another young Barbadian has died from a stroke.

While we live and we shall all die what we eat also determines the quality of health we enjoy.

As a person who often treats himself with fine dining on the West and South Coast, I must say diners are being poisoned by salt. Can it be a coincidence, that restaurants on these coasts, are unknowingly offering diners excessive amounts of salt in their dishes?

Salt was used in ancient times to preserve and cure foods, mainly meats. Thus the acquired taste for salt has been passed from generation to generation. Barbadians obsession with salt is costing the taxpayers dearly.

A class action lawsuit was recently filed against United States Denny's restaurant chain for serving salty food. Jason Ciszewski, a Denny's regular, is claiming that his three favourite meals there, Moons Over My Hammy, the SuperBird Sandwich and the Meat Lover's Scramble contain so much sodium that it caused him to develop high blood pressure.

In Ciszewski's opinion, it was Denny's responsibility to warn him that dishes composed primarily of ham, bacon, sausage and cheese contained a lot of salt; and since they didn't, it should cost them $5 million.

It is estimated that at least 95 per cent of the sodium in the average Barbadian diet is coming from the food itself, not from a salt shaker. Barbadians are consuming too much salt and putting themselves at serious risk of high blood pressure.

A United States study of 20 000 people age 45 and older published in the Neurology journal concluded that salt-induced high blood pressure can also cause memory loss, and impaired brain and kidney function.

A balanced diet made up of fruit, fish and ground provisions can provide you with all the essential salt you need. I have not bought salt in over ten years and have not once suffered from cramp. Please do check with the Government Nutrition Centre for dietary guidelines.

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