Following up on my last post about nitrates and nitrites, I figured I would offer a little meditation on the salt-cellar so to speak. Next to nitrates, salt is the most controversial ingredient in any preserved or cured meats. And I get a lot of questions about the salt content in our country hams. Is it healthy? How much salt do you use? Do you have to use it? Why? Well, the answer is yes, I do have to use it, because salt is not just a preservative, it’s also a major component of flavor. In any dish!
So recently, I took my 81-year old dad to the doctor. He has been on a low salt diet forever thanks to a little heart episode back in his 60’s. The problem was that the low salt diet was making him dehydrated. Of all things, the doc put him on salt pills! Huh? That just seemed crazy to me. I asked the doctor if, instead of getting salt in a pill, why couldn’t my dad just eat a couple of ham sandwiches. Like one made from our Edwards Country ham, or maybe a Surryano ham sandwich with a little cheese, topped with some apple chutney… you know, something good!
Well, he got the go ahead on that, and since then Dad has been eating saltier food, including plenty of ham sandwiches, and nothing bad has happened! Not only that, he eats more cause his food tastes like something, which has given him more energy. He has been out walking every day, and just generally feels a hundred percent better. Go figure.
That got me to wondering if salt really is all that bad for people. I spent some time rooting around on the internet looking for information and I found a recent article in Scientific American that said that claims that salt brings on stroke, high blood pressure, or heart disease were based on some very tenuous claims made back in the 70’s. Somehow those claims really stuck with the public and with the medical community. Since then many studies have been done to establish that link and failed to find any significant evidence that salt intake has an impact on health.
So I am sticking with a prescription for a ham sandwich every day as my contribution to the public health.
If you are curious about the article I read, here is the link: It’s Time to End the War on Salt.
Until next time!