Salt and Its Place In Indian Culture

This article is authored by Dr. Shweta U. Shah. A practicing homeopath, she follows a patient-centred perspective, emphasizing the benefits of natural remedies and herbs, homeopathy and whole food nutrition.

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Salt has a very strong significance in Indian history. Let’s rewind to the Dandi March, 1930, which was an act of civil disobedience led by Gandhiji to rebel against the British oppression in India. Britain’s Salt Act of 1882 banned Indians from manufacturing and selling salt. They exercised complete domination over the manufacture and sale of salt, and charged a hefty salt tax, too. Gandhiji’s non-violent protest prompted Indians to start making their own salt; and this episode became a noteworthy highlight for Indian independence.

Salt and India – Today!

Today, India is the third largest salt manufacturing nation, after China and USA. Our worldwide production is about 230 million tonnes per year. There has been a tremendous growth in the Indian Salt Industry in the last 6 decades.

On a medical and health related platform, studies show that Indians consume approximately 10 grams of salt per day, while Dietary Guidelines advocate limiting the salt intake to less than 5 grams per day. It’s a whopping extra that we are consuming! Research is also demonstrative of the fact that about 1.65 million deaths occur every year because of heart attacks which have been triggered by consuming more than 5 grams of sodium per day.

Sodium consumption in India is so high because we are partial to salty-spicy foods such as pickles, paapads, chaat – all of which that have huge amounts of sodium.

Restricting your salt intake smartly!

You may be plagued by thoughts such as – how much salt should I consume per day; how do I know how much salt I am actually consuming daily and which is the best salt for health. Tata Sampann offers a range of salts that you can choose from. India’s first national branded iodised salt is Tata Namak which promises purity and the right amount of iodine for mental development. Select from - Tata Iodized salt, Tata Salt Lite, Tata Himalayan Pink salt and Tata Black salt. Tata Salt Lite is designed to provide 15 % lesser sodium than ordinary salt. Tata Himalayan Pink Salt and Tata Black Salt are hygienically packaged to retain their natural goodness.

Tips to cut sodium in your diet

  • Change your habits: Whilst cooking, move to low sodium salt such as Tata Salt Lite. Soy sauce, ketchup, pickle, salad dressings, and paapad also contain - consume these in moderation.
  • Step up your consumption of water:Water helps flush out toxins as well as excess amounts of sodium from the body.
  • Read labels carefully and circumvent hidden salt:When buying, choose products that have the minimum amount of sodium. Sodium-free foods contain approximately 0.005g of sodium per 100 g. Very low sodium foods contain about 0.04 g of sodium per 100. Low sodium foods contain about 0.12 g of sodium per 100 g. Steer clear off or at least significantly cut back on your consumption of - paapad, pickle, ketchups, wafers, cookies, butter, cheese and salted meat as these are processed food containing high amounts of sodium for taste and preservation.
  • Make sure you consume 5 servings of fruits and vegetables:Fruits and vegetables help counter balance the negative effects of sodium. They are packed with potassium, which neutralizes the effect of sodium in our body.
  • Eat out sensibly: Recipes which are baked, steamed, roasted and poached usually have lower amounts of salt; when eating out opt for these. Additionally, control portion sizes – it helps cut back on your sodium.

Thus, salt has not only been an integral part of our food traditions, but also a part of our history. Be sure to use salt wisely – to make your food palatable and nutritious, all at the same time.


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