Everyone knows it is a mortal sin to commit suicide. Suicide is destroying God’s gift of life not to mention the ultimate selfish act and hurts others more than it hurts you.

If shooting yourself in the head and you die immediately is called suicide, what is shooting yourself in the head everyday for ten years and then you die called? Is that not also suicide?

The only difference seems to be the time it takes to die. If you accept that in both cases it is wrong; why is doing something over and over you know will eventually kill you, not also slow suicide and a mortal sin?

Three of the top four causes of death in the Philippines,( hypertension, stroke, heart disease) could be stopped with a simple diet change. A major contributing factor to hypertension, stroke and heart disease is SALT. Everyday many Filipinos are committing the mortal sin of “slow” suicide by ingesting far more salt than is healthy.

Take a walk in your local supermarket. There is row after row of processed foods high in salt. The Harvard School of Health and Baylor University conducted a study of “precooked dried noodles”( more commonly called Ramen) and found while these soups are quick and easy to serve they are also “devoid of nutrients, high in carbohydrates, SALT and fats, low in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals”. Basically they taste good but are a disaster for your general health. Add to that unhealthy diet dried fish and other high salt foods and you trade quick and easy …..for slow and deadly.

Avoid slow suicide and check the labels. According to the Institute of Health your diet should contain daily no more than 1,500 mg of salt (about half a teaspoon). Every time you exceed that amount of salt you risk crippling yourself and shortening your life. At first eliminating salt from your diet will be difficult. The food will taste bland, almost flavorless. Eventually the flavor will return. In fact when your body adjusts to the reduced salt diet, you will find it impossible to eat the old salty foods.

Our biggest threat in the Philippines is the “silent killer” hypertension. Out of over two hundred nine nations in the world the little Philippines is second for hypertensive deaths. You often do not even know you are in trouble until it is too late. Besides lowering our salt, what else can we do to prevent these unnecessary deaths?

Sadly many of us do not see a doctor until we get sick, so having our blood pressure checked periodically becomes a problem. Dumaguete City, a university rich community, is lucky enough to have several nursing programs. If you know a nursing student you can ask them to periodically check your blood pressure. They get experience and you monitor your health.

In the past I have suggested that these university nursing programs could not only enhance their training but perform a vital and possibly life saving service by volunteering to give free blood pressure checks at local malls. Is anybody listening? If the universities are not listening, how about you students. It only takes a table, a few chairs and a couple of hours and you might save a life.

SALT is a killer. Save your own life by reducing your salt intake.