Playing catchup and a very interesting article

Hello everyone!  My sincere apologies for staying away so long.  Just to bring you all up to speed, my family and I moved from Philadelphia to Portland, Maine just over 2 weeks ago.  As you can imagine, the past few months have been pretty crazy for us, but things are thankfully settling down.  And we are loving our new city!  Portland is beautiful, and so different from Philly.  Lots to do, new places to explore.  And of course – fabulous new foods to try!  I’ve even found some new products to share w/ you in the coming days, and as always, am keeping my eyes open for others.  So stayed tuned.

Before I forget altogether, I wanted to pass along an interesting article my husband found on Reuters about salt consumption in Portugal.  The government there has become so concerned about the health implications for its population that they’re trying to pass legislation to limit its use in staples such as bread.

Portugal aims to cut stroke deaths by curbing salt

Fri, Mar 13 12:03 PM EDT

LISBON (Reuters) – Alarmed by high death rates from strokes in Portugal, deputies from the ruling Socialist party submitted a bill to parliament Friday to slash the use of salt in bread, blamed for many blood pressure problems.

The country’s key dietary staple — dried salted cod that is rehydrated and cooked in many different ways — has made the Portuguese accustomed to using more salt in food than other nations, and bakers add generous amounts to their dough.

Bread is one of the main sources of salt intake and many Portuguese eat it with every meal.

“Portugal currently has one of the highest mortality rates from strokes in Europe, which is about double that observed in Spain and three times that in France,” the draft bill reads.

According to the Portuguese Society of High Blood Pressure, a reduction of salt intake by one gramme a day on average would save 2,650 lives per year. Strokes kill up to 20,000 people a year, accounting for some 20 percent of deaths in Portugal.

The document also cited a recent study by the Sciences and Health Faculty of Fernando Pessoa University as saying daily salt intake in Portugal was about double the 5.8 grammes a day limit recommended by the World Health Organization.

The document links excessive salt consumption to high blood pressure, which in turn causes strokes, generally reduces life expectancy and means high medication costs for the state.

The most popular type of bread in Portugal has between 18 and 21 grammes of salt per kg. Even healthier wholemeal bread has 15 grammes on average.

The bill calls for salt content to be cut to a maximum of 14 grammes per kg, or by about 25 percent, introducing fines of up to 5,000 euros ($6,435) for exceeding this. It also envisages compulsory labeling of products with high salt content.

Socialists have the majority of seats in parliament and the bill is likely to pass without a hitch.

(Reporting by Andrei Khalip, editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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