Through a few simple changes to cooking habits, salt intakes in the UK can be reduced, saving thousands of lives!
Salt raises our blood pressure. As a result, many thousands of people die unnecessarily each year from strokes, heart attacks and heart failure. People who reduce their salt intake by around 2.5g a day can reduce their risk of having a stroke or heart complications by 25%. A high salt diet is also linked to stomach cancer, osteoporosis and kidney disease.
With the number of people eating out of the home increasing, plus the popularisation of cookery shows and recipe books, reducing the amount of salt that chefs use could dramatically improve the nation’s health.
Salt - a personal taste
We all appreciate tasty food, but as people in the UK get used to eating less salt, some foods served in restaurants are starting to taste too salty. You wouldn’t dream of putting sugar in someone’s coffee or tea without asking them. Shouldn’t the amount of salt customers eat be their choice too?
Thanks to the work that the food industry have been doing over the past few years, the salt content of many everyday foods have been reduced. As we all get used to eating less salt foods bought from shops, our taste buds are adjusting. If you are used to eating food with a lot of added salt, the salt receptors among your taste buds will be suppressed and you will need a lot more salt in your food to get a ‘savoury’ taste. However, someone who eats very little salt will find that same food inedible.
Seasoning doesn’t have to mean salt
Black pepper, garlic, chilli, herbs, spices, wine, lemon or lime juice and vinegar are all salt-free options that can be used to season foods and improve their flavour. And don’t forget that ready-made stocks and bouillons, mustards, pickles, olives, capers, anchovies, and Eastern sauces e.g. soy sauce and oyster sauce are high in salt.
We are asking chefs to take on board the government’s advice to caterers and manufacturers to reduce the salt content of our food.
Some of the UKs top chefs are lending their voices to the campaign, hoping to persuade their colleagues to add less salt to their cooking:
Raymond Blanc OBE, Chef Patron of Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons
"I believe that good food does not need more than the very lightest of seasoning - there is no reason for good chefs to mask the flavour of their ingredients by adding too much salt. Remember herby, sour, bitter and acid are also wonderful catalysts of flavour. I fully support CASH and their Salt Awareness Week. Let's all eat better by going easy on the salt."
Antony Worrall Thompson
"I am delighted to be asked again to support Salt Awareness Week - ‘Less salt please’ to be held on March 11th-17th 2013.
Reducing salt can be done without being detrimental to the flavour of food. CASH (Consensus Action on Salt & Health) is encouraging everyone to reduce salt in their diet; I urge all to think about their own diet and how they can reduce their salt intake to protect their health. So think - before you sprinkle! "