Many of you may be aware of the link between salt and health. Dietary salt is the main source of sodium and chloride ions, which are needed by the human body to perform a range of vital functions, such as:
Regulation of fluids in the body
Regulating blood pH and blood pressure
Optimal nerve and muscle function
Helping to absorb nutrients in the gut
The recommended intake of salt for adults and children aged 11yrs and over is no more than 6g per day (or 2.4g of sodium), equivalent to 1 teaspoon. In the UK, the average salt intake is over 8g/day! Our salt intake not only comes from salt added during cooking or just before eating, but 75% of salt in our diet comes everyday foods, such as bread, cereals, crisps, sauces and processed meat. Two slices of bread can contain 1 gram of salt!
Too much salt in our diets can lead to water retention in our blood, leading to higher pressure in blood vessels, causing high blood pressure, known as hypertension. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). According to the World Health Organisation, CVD is the leading cause of death worldwide.
Here are a few tips for you to help you reduce your salt intake:
Add less salt during cooking, using herbs and spices instead
Aim to eat less ultra-processed foods, such as takeaways, as they contain high levels of salt
Use reduced salt stock cubes where possible
Opt for lower/reduced salt options when buying food and condiments
Use traffic light labels on food packaging as a guide to see whether food has low, medium or high levels of salt.