Apart from the universal stake on the importance of SALT or NAMAK…; It has left its indispensible requisite image from times immemorial. Be it Romans, who paid their legions; ‘Salt’ as reward for their duty or even the advent of the word salt is understood to be carved out of ‘salary’….. Also…Gandhiji’s Satyagrah and Dandi March breaking ‘Salt Law’ or movies ‘Namak Halal’….. and ‘Sholay’ for ‘Maine to aapka namak khaya hai’….. ‘Namak’ has been an essence of living….
From taste buds to its nutrient requirements … ‘Salt’ if not kept at balanced level ruins the flavour of the food. So lets explore….. what it is?? and how to control this ‘ingredient of nuisance value but important too’…with a pinch of salt.
Firstly… Knowing what it is?? Edible salt is found in different forms vide, Table Salt…..Sea Salt….. Grey, Pink, Black, Red, Truffle …..kosher and many more….. but primarily to understand, it is ‘NaCl’ ….i.e. Sodium Chloride….40% of Sodium & 60% of Chloride….. It is required for adding flavour and is used as binder, preservative or stabiliser. Some claim it contains Iodine, added Anti caking Agents, minerals….. but to a normal mind what needs to be kept in mind is ….. The level of Sodium content…It is this ‘Sodium’ content which is associated with blood pressure or increase in risk of developing coronary heart disease.
Secondly ……. How to know that the amount or pinch of Salt what I am taking is good or bad??….. As per studies an adult should have maximum 6-8 gms of salt per day with a sedentary to mid level active lifestyle with certain exceptions; if you are toiling too hard in Gym or running and dehydrating yourself, quite off and on. Ready to eat food packets Nutrition labels talks of it ..…. take a look on the food / snack packets … to understand it. Now a days colour codes like Red for high, amber for medium & green for low salt levels are also given.
Thirdly…… Presence of added salt in most of food product we buy today!!…Yes…. in terms of preservatives or hidden salt… So in actuals we add up eating more of salt with these types of food; adding up to the agony to our blood pressure levels or the heart ailments.
Fourthly………The science behind taking this Salt in large intake and inviting health issues ……. Precisely Sodium is essential for fluid balance and cellular homeostasis. We, humans require a small unit….. say upto 1.5 tea spoons daily for all of us with a normal working lifestyle of homemakers to working individuals….. for the conduct of nerve impulses. But if it is in excess, the kidneys have trouble in accumulating it….. Then the body tries to hold on water in terms of water retention to dilute the Sodium part of it….This further entails more work for the heart and more pressure on blood vessels….and that’s all about it’s Science.
Fifthly…… Then How to reduce it?…… So if it is not advisable…. then we can reduce its intake by either….. not keeping the salt holder on the table or….try flavouring the food with pepper, herbs, garlic, spices or lemon to keep a balance..Try including salads in your food palate with somewhat bland taste like radish ..so that every time you take a piece of it your normal salt taste gives you better impulse even if it is less..actually it is something akin to theory of relativity…… it works …..
Try and avoid..the pre packed food elements which looks tempting…especially for kids. Be more nutrition conscious……or Don’t put too much of Soya sauces……it contains lots of hidden salt..…And also….smoke less cigarettes or stop smoking (if you can)…. So as to revigorate your taste buds to normal…..
Lastly ……. Take control of these small pinches of salt….. these small pinches one day convert to mountain from molehill…….Let’s cut down.