Have you ever thought about reducing your salt intake or the impact that too much salt may be having on your health? Most of us consume too much salt – or sodium – in our diets. But why is that an issue? Eating too much salt can cause high blood pressure and lead to other health problems like increasing your risk of stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer and kidney disease.
The fact is, there is a lot of hidden sodium in many of the foods we eat on a daily basis, and often where we least expect it. Some of the biggest culprits include purchased soups, frozen meals, processed meats, cheese, breads and cereals. So what can you do about it?
As part of National Nutrition Month and Salt Awareness Week, we take a closer look at how much salt we actually need on a daily basis, and how you can go about reducing your salt intake so that it doesn’t exceed it.
How much salt?
Even though salt contains some very important minerals that the body needs, as with everything it’s all about moderation.
Try to limit sodium intake to 1,500 to 2,300 mg per day, the equivalent of one teaspoon of salt, which is enough for the important role is plays in our bodies regulating blood pressure, acid-base balance, and within the nervous system and muscle tissues.
The bottom line is that excessive consumption in the long term can undermine the beneficial role salt has to play in our bodies.
Tips for reducing salt intake in your diet
Here we share some simple tips for reducing salt in your diet to ensure that your consumption falls within the daily recommended amount:
· Avoid processed or pre-packaged foods. As mentioned above, processed foods like canned soups or frozen dinners contain hidden sodium that quickly surpasses the recommended limit.
· With that said, always read the labels of packaged food. Be mindful of the fact that labels on packaged foods bought at the supermarket usually indicate the amount of sodium – not salt – so that’s what you need to look out for. So for example, 1g sodium = 2.5g salt. You can multiply the sodium value by 2.5 to work out how much salt a food contains. Choose low-salt or reduced-sodium products, including breakfast cereals.
· Be careful when eating out. Most restaurant and fast food meals are loaded with sodium. Some offer lower-sodium choices or you can ask for your meal to be made without salt. Most gravy and sauces are loaded with salt, so ask for it to be served on the side.
· Cut back on salty snacks such as potato chips, nuts, and pretzels. Opt for fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned vegetables instead.
· Slowly reduce the salt in your diet to give your taste buds time to adjust. Do not add salt to food without tasting and keep the salt shaker off the table to avoid bad salt habits. When cooking use spices, onion, garlic and pepper to make your food more flavourful instead.
We hope you found these tips for reducing your salt intake for Salt Awareness Week useful. For more information about how our nutrition workshops can support your employees, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org