Salt: Is it good for you? – How did this topic arise, it is quite strange that as I sat in front of my computer wondering what to put onto my Gloria’s Cottage Craft Trading web site, which might be of interest to all, I was paging through a “Life Magazine” – Autumn 2017 and there was an article on “Less is more when it comes to Salt”.

As I was reading trying to decide whether this would be a good topic, I had a pop-up notice from  “Love too much salt”-Think again as it may affect your thinking.

Amazing co-incidence, so here goes.

From Organic Facts:

A High-Salt Diet May Harm Brain Health

We are aware that a high-salt diet can cause various cardiovascular diseases.   However, are you aware of its effects on other systems of the body?

A high-salt diet is found to cause cognitive impairments, says a study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.   Although the study was performed on mice, scientists say that it would have similar effects on human body too.

The study, conducted by researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, reveals a new gut-brain link mechanism. It may seem that high-salt diet reduces the blood flow to the brain, interrupting the blood vessels in the brain, ultimately affecting the cognitive function. However, the crux of the matter is that the gut communicates with the brain directly through certain signals via the immune system.


The findings have broadened the content of the link between our dietary habits and thinking power. It lays its root in proving that immune system plays a crucial role in the communication of the gut and the brain. Over-salted gut, independently, damages the nervous system by sending it signals way before the high-salt diet shoots up the blood pressure.

Researchers for the study fed a very high-salt diet to mice and found that it prompted a hyper-response of an inflammatory substance, interleukin-17 also known as IL-17 in their body. High levels of IL-17 resulted released a cascade of chemicals in the inner linings of the blood vessels in the brain.Chips

Eventually, these mice performed very poorly in the cognitive tests as the blood supply to the cortex and hippocampus, which are two regions of the brain crucial for learning and memory, slowed distinctly. The difference in the cognitive functioning of the mice fed with high-salt diet and those fed with low-salt diet was comparatively visible in their maze test where the latter could manage to rescue themselves from the trap easily. The cognitive impairment in the experimental mice was evident even in the absence of high blood pressure.

Scientists found a ray of hope when they realized that the cognitive performance of the mice could be restored by cutting down the high-salt intake. Even compressing the immune signal by drugs resulted in cognitive impairment reversal. Researchers could now discover or invent a therapy or drug to interrupt the inflammatory signals that reach the brain causing various diseases and disorders.  With thanks to Organic

From Life Healthcare (I have taken snippets of interest from their Article)

The recommended daily salt allowance is one (1) teaspoon (5grams).   Most South Africans consume a minimum of 3tsp a day.  Why? Because most salt is hidden in everyday foods.



Excess salt intake can result in High Blood Pressure, thereby contributing to heart dis-ease, stroke and kidney dis-ease.   “High Blood Pressure (otherwise know as Hypertension) can be very dangerous since the dis-ease has many secondary consequences.

Fried Bananas

Most processed foods are higher in sodium, so – read the labels correctly and by choosing fresh, unprocessed foods you can lower your salt consumption.   Get Food-Label Savvy.  All ingredients ae labelled in descending order, so be wary of products that have salt high up on the list. Avoid foods with a sodium content of >600mg per 100g of product.  Other names used for salt are monosodium glutamate (MSG), baking soda and baking powder.

Most folk associate less salt with meals being less tasty.   Flavour can come from a variety of different her, juices and fresh ingredients that do not contain salt.   One’s palate can be trained to require less salt.  Try eating raw, unsalted nuts, home-made sauces and marinades (eg. Use more lemon juice, garlic, ginger, herbs and spices, to add flavour) fresh fruit as a snack, low-sodium soup mixes, oats rather than pre-packaged cereals, and fresh veggies rather than tinned.


Think of lemon as the “New Salt”.  Gradually introduce low-sodium foods and alternatives and cut back on table salt to adjust your sense of taste, and cut back on table salt until you reach your sodium goal.  This will give you palate time to adjust.   It will also help if you tried out different ways of flavouring your food.

Legislation reducing the salt content of commonly consumed foods came into effect on 30 June 2016. It’s an excellent initiative.   When it comes to behaviour change, much of the resistance to change comes from being afraid of the unknown.   However, if changes have been made in this gradual way, it allows the public’s taste buds to change with minimal effort in a relatively “painless” way.  In addition, the legislation also creates greater awareness to changing salt consumption habits.

Even with the changes in Legislation, some foods affected, such as potato chips and processed meats, will still be very salty, however, consumers should demand less salty products, and at home, add less salt to their cooking and at the table.   The best way to change, is to change what we eat, which will then encourage the big food corporations to change their foods to suit the healthier marketplace.   With thanks to Charlene Yared-West; Margaret Lehobye and