Salt intake

Hi Just read the article about dietary salt intake…very interesting…and am now beating myself up about it…I have only recently made a conscious effort to reduce my salt intake as a result of hypertension but have to be brutally honest with myself and accept that, for as many years as I can remember, I have used too much salt on my food. Xx

Do you know, I read the article, and as soon as I even saw the title of your post, my thought was: “Oh, yet another thing to beat ourselves up about!”

Then I saw that’s exactly what you’ve written!

I’m getting sick of the prevailing mentality that EVERY disease is avoidable/preventable. Seems like we’re reverting to the Middle Ages, where if you get ill, it’s only your own fault, and must be a punishment for something.

I even had an acquaintance (I won’t call her a friend), who greeted news of my diagnosis with: “Oh dear, well you’ll have to mend your ways now, won’t you?” Because I did what, exactly?

I’m afraid this sort of headline only encourages stupid people to believe we all got MS because of our own fault, and they don’t have it because they were so much more virtuous.

My poor father had to put up with the same. He’d never smoked in his life, but died of a rare form of lung cancer, linked to industrial asbestos exposure (which he’d had absolutely no control over). But Joe Public reckons you’re immune from lung cancer, unless you were a very heavy smoker, so poor old Dad must have done it himself, mustn’t he?


Hi Mrs.H,

It is not what you put on your food that is the biggest problem, it is what goes into processed or packaged foods that does the damage. I too have hypertension, so I am now an avid label reader, too high a salf level and I don’t buy it.
I monitor my Blood Pressure weekly and found such a variation week by week that perhaps it is a bit of a lost cause.

Read the labels and avoid the obvisous high salt stuff, but don’t beat yourself up by putting a bit of it on your chips.


Hi Paul By and large, we don’t and never have eaten processed food…but I am totally guilty of putting far too much salt on food. And most food at that. My BP, last week was 160/101. I stopped using salt immediately and this morning my BP was 124/88. I haven’t done anything other than stop using salt !!

I’m glad I don’t much like salt, use it to cook with but only a little and never put it on anything. However obviously has made no difference to me :wink: although must admit my mum puts a lot of salt in food and always has, obviously as a child I ate her lovely home made food :slight_smile: ooh that’s made me hungry, now best get a sandwich. X x x

I completely agree with Tina.

We flatter ourselves if we suppose that any sin of omission or commission, real or imagined, was the thing that decided whether we got MS or not.

There may be some things in life where what happens to us can fairly reliably be traced to things we have chosen to do or not do (although there are far fewer of these than we think!) but getting MS sure ain’t one of them.

We all have enough problems without beating ourselves up over nothing.



WOW! l think you have just proved your point about dangerous salt levels. l use the ‘reduced sodium’ salt - and do try to limit the use. Adding salt - at the table - can be more of a habit as most people will add it to their plate before tasting their food. lf the salt pot is not on the table perhaps we could wean ourselves off it. Pepper is OK - and l do use quite a lot of garlic/grated lemon/herbs/chilli which intensifies the flavour. l know my BP is usually rather low - but last time l was checked it was 120/80 which l was very thrilled with. Vitamin d3 helps with hypertension/high blood pressure as it is considered to be a auto-immune problem.

l am not keen on bacon/ham/sausages/crisps - which of course have a high salt content.

Did you feel any different after your bp came down?


Hi Frances I would like to say so but really…less thirsty is about it !! But it’s for the best anyway…my GP was quite shocked by the reading !! And if there are simple things like this that I can do to make my health, generally, better, I’ll do it.

Ps, Tina, I’m really not a stupid person but I like to read current research…and especially when it may be relevant to my health and possibly improving it.


just another viewpoint…i have my own theory as to why i havs ms. i dont beat myself up re it. i accept that i have made numerous repeated errors in my life. this way of thinking actually helps me because it makes sense to me.

re salt-i never add it to food or buy ready made meals. my b/p has always been 120/80 even during 4 pregnancies!

balance is the key i reckon…a bar of choc in each hand

ellie x

Sorry, I didn’t mean that you were a stupid person MrsH. But that people reading it, who don’t have MS, will naively think: “Oh look, they all caused it themselves!” Already too much of this blame game going on, about what anyone who gets ill must have done to cause it.

Yes, we know some illnesses are linked to lifestyle - but even those are not confined only to people with “bad habits”. Non-smokers still get lung cancer, people who’ve never been obese or had a fatty diet can still have high cholesterol and heart trouble. So I’m extremely wary of these over-simplified “X causes Y” conclusions - especially as interpreted by the press, even when the science does not actually say that. It misleads the public into thinking anyone who gets ill has always done something.

And then the people who ARE ill start worrying they’ve done something, too. We don’t need this.

Coincidentally more scare stories in the news this very day, about processed meats. It’s probably generally accepted now that a full fry-up every morning probably isn’t very good for you. But how many people with cancer are now worrying if it’s because they happened to like a ham sandwich for lunch?


I think we probably all eat too much salt. If you eat bread every day and breakfast cereal, you’re probably already done for. Watched a program a while back, can’t remember which channel. It asked people to consider an array of different foods and decide which portion of food had the highest salt content. The worst culprit was the daily serving of bread, which was the equivalent salt level of a few packets of crisps. In other words a packet of crisps wasn’t as bad as you think. Very hard to cut out I think. Plus as they said when the horse has already bolted there’s probably not much you can do. I suppose I will be a bit more conscious of it regarding my kids though, so it’s still worth knowing about. My mum and I both have ms and live within a very ginger family. Dad had coeliac disease and aunty has rheumatoid arthritis, so any info that can help my kids is welcome.

I absolutely agree, Topsy. Without research and scientists asking why and how, we would still be in the dark ages with people dying of flu and measles etc. if we can investigate we should. And who knows, in my lifetime there may just be a cure for more illnesses and if not, certainly the next generation will not suffer some of the ails that at the moment are seen as “incurable”.

I agree with what Tina said, that’s why I don’t usually pay much attention to stories about ms in the media. Most of the salt we eat will be in food already and won’t be down to how much salt we add, however for what it’s worth I have never added salt to food, and still don’t, I don’t like and never have liked strongly flavoured things , especially salty things, I don’t even like crisps. Obviously any research has to be considered an important thing, but I’m not sure that this is the thing that will help. If I can make a little joke, I’m taking it with “a pinch of salt” Cheryl:-)

l did not think this post was about salt causing or making ms worse - just about general health and hypertension in particular.

For anyone with a progressive illness and sorry to say - incurable - at the moment - then it is advisable to try to keep ourselves as fit and well as we can.

Not forgetting that hypertension along with other auto-immune diseases/ coeliac disease/rheumatoid arthritis/osteo-arthritis/crohns/Parkinsons/MS/ and 17 types of cancer are linked to vitamin d3 deficiency.

Just eaten my dinner without putting salt on it - l think you get used to it eventually. l used to, as a kid, have two spoons of sugar in my tea. Now l prefer it without. And that was by just gradually putting less in.

It was supposed to be a post to show that, no matter whether you subscribe to following current research or not, some things being looked at, do have a very real effect on general health and well being. However, I have to say, I am a great advocate of research into the as yet, unknown, otherwise how on earth will we ever know, prevent and one day cure. Medical advances are proof of this. I was recently talking to an eldelrly family friend who was a doctor specialising in oncology. We were discussing exactly this subject and he was providing a narrative on the advancements in medicine that he is incredulous about. He said when he first started out he would not have believed that cancer was anything but terminal, now it is taken for granted that there is treatment. He reckons that by the time his children are his age they will look back in disbelief and people will be shocked that we used to “chop bits off” to cure cancer !! That’s what research does…provides a way forward. I wonder how many people dismissed, out of hand, the scientist who grew mould in a Petri dish and then came to the rather startling conclusion that it could be used to treat illness !! Xx