How being naughty can be good for you

  • Discover the guilty secret of being home alone
  • Why these fifteen health benefits are just a shake away
  • This is the easiest healthy change to make right now – click here

Sometimes I feel like a guilty schoolboy when I’m left home alone.

Lara had gone to stay with her sister for the night and I was not required on the trip, so the whole of Saturday was all mine!

I began to think of all the ‘naughty’ things I could do… a whole pack of chocolate, a glass of wine before six o’clock or a nice hot bath (constantly topping up the hot water) listening to the rugby on the radio…

…all plausible possibilities.

But I opted for one of my favourite treats… fish and chips for my lunch.

Piping hot crispy batter and perfect chips, eaten out of the paper whilst sitting looking over the valley.

An absolute delight on a sunny autumn day.

I’ve known George (well he’s Greek and most people can’t pronounce his real name – Georgios!) at the chippy for the last twenty years and we often have a chat as he is tending to his fryers.

The last time I went in we were chatting about the health impact of fried food, and especially the salt that he shakes over it.

“I’ve had several people tell me that they can’t have salt anymore.” George said, somewhat bewildered as to why.

“It’ll be to do with raised blood pressure I suspect,” I offered. “There has been a lot about it in the papers again.”

I then told him how he could make a huge difference with one simple swap.

“Why not use magnesium salt instead? No-one will notice the difference and you’ll be doing your customers a real favour.”

And he did.

Low sodium is the way forward

On Saturday George proudly showed me the new sign on the back wall – ‘We only use healthy magnesium salt for your chips.’

I asked how many people noticed a difference in the taste, and George told me that in the three weeks he had been using it not one person had known.

“I even had some people saying that the chips tasted better.” George said.

Well I certainly enjoyed mine that day.

Using low sodium, magnesium salt is something our family have been doing for several years now.

It was the easiest ‘health’ change that we ever made and all of my extended family and friends are also doing the same now too.

Everyone agrees that their food tastes just as good, yet it is an effective way to lower the sodium in their diets which may have a positive benefit for cardiovascular health.

A recent population study in Sweden found that as well as helping reduce problems with blood pressure and heart disease a lowered sodium diet can also help;

  • Lower your LDL cholesterol.
  • Decrease your risk of kidney damage.
  • Prevent your chance of stroke.
  • Lessen the chance of a brain aneurysm.
  • Protect your vision.
  • Reduce your risk of diabetes.
  • Improve your memory.
  • Lower your risk of dementia.
  • Reduce bloating and swelling.
  • Reduce the amount you drink.
  • Curb your salt cravings.
  • Decrease your risk for headaches.
  • Build stronger bones.
  • Reduce the chance of kidney stones.
  • Lower your risk of stomach cancer.

That’s a pretty impressive list of health benefits by anyone’s standards.

The danger of hidden salt

For many years now there has been a big movement to get us to eat less salt but this is something I have always challenged in the way it is presented.

The UK’s Food Standards Agency claim that in the UK 26 million people eat too much salt. They say they’re determined to bring down the average UK salt intake to 6g a day.

However, this blanket ‘one size fits all’ recommendation is dangerous.

Here’s why…

The Food Standards Agency also tell us that processed foods contribute to 75% of salt intake.

This is the key to the problem in my view.

Someone who eats lots of ready meals, white breads and pre-made sauces not only eats too much salt but will be unhealthier for lots of other reasons too.

I would agree entirely that they eat too much salt, and that their lifestyle and food choices are also a serious danger factor.

Now let’s take someone who rarely eats any processed food.

Instead they eat freshly home cooked meals, including lots of fresh fruit, veg, fish and meat.

If this person follows mainstream advice, listens to the scare stories, and abstains from salt, they are actually in danger of having low levels of the essential minerals that salt contains.

I have no issue with shaking my magnesium salt onto my food or even adding it to cooking water etc as I know how much I am adding.

What I object to is high levels being added to processed foods so that people who are buying and eating it have no idea how much sodium they are consuming – the amount of salt being used is to mask the poor quality of this food and enhance its taste.

Why not just make good quality and tasting food in the first place?

So, whilst it may have been naughty to sneak out and grab a bag of chips it was definitely a good thing to shake plenty of this [low sodium magnesium table salt] over them after all.

I’m going to have to find other naughty things to do now… if Lara ever let’s me stay home alone ever again!