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Salt – The good and the bad


This is in keeping with my usual digression from the law to bring to you certain issues of concern to our people. We can all avoid the sufferings and pain from high blood pressure, heart and other related diseases if a concerted effort is made to reduce the intake of salt. I would like to urge you not to use excessive amounts of salt.{{more}} Those persons who offer food for sale to the public have not only a duty to serve healthy food but food with the right amount of salt. Most doctors/nutritionists recommend about 4.2g intake per day. Although we do not go about measuring our intake, we all know when food is too salt.

Why take salt?

Common salt/ refined salt is an important part of our diet and it contains two important minerals, sodium and chloride. Its main purpose is to balance the amount of water in our bodies. Salt gives taste to food which would otherwise be bland and tasteless, but salt is sometimes used so generously that it overwhelms the other flavor in the food. From early in life parents and guardians introduce salt in the diet of their children. By the age of five years, children have developed a fondness for salty food. It is added to green mangoes and golden apple, and sold as “chow-chow”. Salty foods such as potato chips, plantain chips, corn curls, and pop corn, among other snacks, become an integral part of children’s diet here in SVG.

Salt serves a purpose, and especially before the discovery of refrigeration, it was used to preserve food such as fish and meats so that we could consume these foods at a later date. Soaking overnight in water substantially takes out the salt when we are ready to use it. Today salt is still used to preserve food, but refrigeration has given us more control as we can determine how much salt we put into our foods. By the way, if you soak your meat in lime and salt water for about ten to fifteen minutes you would have no need to add salt to your pot as there would be sufficient salt.


There are many seasonings on the market containing salt. If you have to use these, there is no need to add salt to your rice, meat and pies. Check the label of the prepared seasoning to see how much sodium is contained therein. On the other hand, you would be better off with the chive, thyme and other seasonings that you grow in your garden.

What is this concern about salt?

There are too many things which are dangerous to our health. Although High Blood pressure/ Hypertension could be caused by stress and inherited genetic factors, salt has been pinpointed as one of the causes of high blood pressure, stroke and heart related diseases. Moreover, it is often said that black people more that any other race are more likely to be affected by high blood pressure. The statistics show that many persons in SVG die from the above named diseases.

Call to avoid too much salt

I call on everyone, including children, not to feed the habit of excessive salt intake. Take a turn around. If genetics direct it, then so be it, but do not allow a salty diet to determine how you end your life. I appeal to restaurants not to use too much salt in food. There should be a choice of a salt free diet for some of your customers. And you my friend, break the habit of excessive salt intake! Take your hands from the salt shaker! Limit the amount of salt in our children’s diet! Check with your doctor or nutritionist.

Ada Johnson is a solicitor and barrister-at-law.
E-mail address is: [email protected]