Don’t Pass the Salt!
Many of us eat too much salt without realising. Perhaps you only add a pinch of salt when cooking or a sprinkle of salt to your food. So you may be surprised that most of the salt we eat is hidden in the foods we buy or eat out. Our diets contain a third more salt than the maximum guideline amount meaning we are eating too much. This can be harmful to our health.
How much is too much?
Adults should have a maximum of 6 grams of salt per day, or about one teaspoon. We currently consuming above this with 8.1 grams and should make changes to reduce our salt intake. Children should have even less salt while babies 0-6 months should not have any.
Why is too much harmful?
Too much salt can raise your blood pressure. This increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. High salt intakes are also linked to a number of other poor health conditions. Eating less salt can help to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk from associated diseases.
Ways to cut down on salt
Salt is found in lots of different foods and drinks. Mostly these are prepared foods and eating out all of which contribute about 75% of the salt we eat.
Cheese, smoked fish and meats, gravy granules and soy sauce are usually high in salt, along with a longer list of foods. Other foods often high in salt include pasta sauces, ketchup, soup, ready meals and sausages.
It is always best to check food and drink labels to choose a lower salt option by choosing a different brand or variety. Per 100 grams a high salt product will contain more than 1.5 grams while a low salt product will have less than 0.3g. Traffic light labels on many food and drinks give a quick guide to the nutrient content to show how healthy it is. Look for more green options to show a healthier product, some ambers and fewer red options which less healthy.
Knowing that processed and convenience foods are often high in salt you have more control over the salt content if you are able to cook from basics following healthy recipes. Instead of adding salt when you cook try to use black pepper, herbs and spices.
Learn more about Salt: the facts and get Tips for a lower salt diet.