Too much salt is bad for you.
Salt makes things taste delicious.
It is a kind of ironical statement that comes across all the time when we consume savoury food. These two facts can raise tricky questions that do we want to be healthy or do we want our food to taste good?
When we eat too much salt, our body holds on to water in an effort to dilute it. This extra water increases blood volume. It means the heart needs to work harder because it has to push more liquid through our blood vessels. More tough pumping by the heart puts more force on the blood vessels. Over time, this increased force can raise blood pressure and damage blood vessels. It makes them stiffer, which increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart failure.
A new Japanese invention could end the Salt Wars once and for all by imitating the instantly recognizable flavour of the most ubiquitous seasoning. It will put an end to the conflict created by our enjoyment of salt.
The Prototype Fork
This is a kind of major perk for people with high blood pressure. This fork has electrodes that form an electrical current when food, tongue, and fork come into contact, which provides a healthy salted-food experience.
The idea seems unusual but actually makes some sense.
As we all know that our tongue is made up of tiny buds that send signals to our brains when stimulated. So, if something could artificially stimulate those buds in the same way as salt do and it would provide the salty taste with no blood pressure-raise.
The prototype fork developed by Hiromi Nakamura of Rekimoto Lab at the University of Tokyo, Japan. It comprises a handle that houses a rechargeable battery and an electric circuit. When a user places the head of the fork on the tongue, they can press a button on the handle to deliver one of three levels of electric current, which replicates varying degrees of saltiness.
The fork isn’t particularly high-tech, with the parts costing less than $20 in total, including a battery to power it. At the base, there’s a dial allowing you to toggle between three intensity levels. At the prototype stage, there’s the limit here for a greater range of sensations.
The metallic handle is a necessity. To complete the circuit for the fork, you need to strongly grip it while pressing a button closer to the forkhead. It means you have to hold it kind of like a shovel, which makes things slower.
Hiromi Nakamura has begun her research around six years ago. She was aimed at augmenting or changing taste with an electric current. The health angle only became obvious later, adding a more serious reason to continue the project. Researchers have teamed up with a clinic that is helping to test the fork with those who would be benefited from consuming less salt.
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B.Tech Student at NIFTEM (National Institute of Food Technology and Entrepreneurship and Management)