In Japan’s sweaty summers, a salty upper lip and dripping shirt may be a reminder that it is after-work beer time. Now, licking those minerals and taking them back into the body may be a good thing.

According to Japanese confectionary giant Lotte Co., there could be a salty solution to summer which may in turn help us slash our electricity use – something which seems increasingly necessary while the country comes to terms with and seeks alternatives to nuclear power.  A new angle on pushing chocolate to the masses, maybe, but perhaps there is some science behind it.

Sodium in salt, as most high school students should be able to tell us, is vital for controlling the amount of water in the body and maintaining blood pH levels. Salt is a diuretic, meaning that it will effectively dehydrate the body, but if we don’t have enough of it – that is, if our body sweats too much and our liquid levels are low – the symptoms of heat exhaustion can develop.

We need to strike a balance. And that, is where, apparently, chocolate comes in. Could it be true? Is salty chocolate good for you? Well, probably not as much as a cool glass of water and a sensible salad, but what we can assume, is that it will have some major flavour benefits.

Crunky cookies

A Summer version of Crunky cookies means white chocolate mixture sandwiched between two biscuits which are flaked with salt. It sounds pretty tasty (as does the vanilla ice cream and salt flavour, pictured on the right) and would, perhaps, go down well even in Spring. We will get our chance to savour the salt on May 15th, the company say.

Then, we will have Koume-chan plum sweets. Umeboshi, Japanese salty, sour pickled plums which may turn your face inside-out, have often been associated with the heat in Japan; these sweets have plum salt which, according to Lotte, will give a milder saltiness with a sweet and sour flavour.

There is even room for premium Alpine – 70% German, of course – and French and Italian rock salt. Lotte will dust grapefruit and lime candies, and fill caramel cookies with with sweet European salinity.