Surprisingly simple ways to reduce your salt intake

In light of World Salt Awareness Week (12 – 18 March 2018) we are sharing three simple ways to stay below the daily recommended limit of 5g

The World Health Organization recommends a maximum of 5g salt per adult per day (that’s one teaspoon). But because there is a lot of hidden sodium in the food we eat, most people don’t even realise they’re consuming too much salt. A high salt intake is linked to high blood pressure, which can cause strokes and heart disease, and research also shows that a high intake of salt, sodium or salty foods is linked to an increased risk of stomach cancer. However, a reduction in salt intake by just 2g a day will reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by 20%. 

Controlling your salt intake can be a little tricky, as a lot of prepared food already contains salt. Up to 60% of the salt in our diet comes from processed foods (margarine, stock cubes, soup powders, breakfast cereals) and the remaining 40% is added at the table. The best way to reduce your salt intake is to become ‘salt smart’. Here are three easy ways to help you stay below the recommended 5g a day:  

1. Read food labels carefully

If ‘sodium’ or ‘salt’ is one of the top three ingredients, the food probably contains a lot of salt. Avoid foods that contain more than 1,5g of salt per 100g, and look out for the Heart Mark on food packaging to identify low-salt foods. Other sodium-rich ingredients to be wary of: monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium nitrate, bicarbonate of soda and soya sauce.

2. Remove salt from the table

Out of sight, out of mind! And remember, ‘fancier’ types of salt may contain more nutrients than table salt, but they aren’t necessarily healthy. Pink, black, rock, crystal and flake salt all have the same effect on blood pressure as table salt. 

3. Flavour food with herbs and spices

Herbs, spices and other ingredients that don’t contain salt, such as lemon juice, onions, peppers and garlic, will not only add great flavour to food but are also a source of antioxidants, vitamins and other nutrients that are good for you.

Source: Nutrition Information Centre of Stellenbosch University (NICUS)

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