Do you tend to add salt when cooking or at the dinner table? Do you rely on ready made food and eat out a lot? You may be getting far more salt than you bargained for or that is good for you.
Every March, Consensus Action on Salt & Health (CASH) holds its Salt Awareness Week (11th-17th) to get people to reign in their salt intake and bring it below 6 grams a day (less than a teaspoon), because of its role in high blood pressure, stomach cancer, osteoporosis and kidney disease.
This year, they’ve lifted the lid off the salty habits of chefs and others in the catering industry, urging them to cut out salt and choose healthier, tastier ways of flavouring food. Their survey of nearly 700 restaurant meals revealed that 50% were high in salt and, even more shockingly, some meals could provide your daily salt intake in one go.
Too many pinches at home
Use pepper, spices, herbs, vinegar and lemon juice to flavour your dishes and banish salt from the table. Sea salt and Lo-salt aren’t any better, they still make you ‘used to’ a salty taste.
Spot the salt when shopping. Whether it’s bread, cheese, bacon, tins of beans, soups, ready made meals or biscuits and cakes, there can be a lot of salt hidden away. In fact, 75% of the salt you eat comes from bought food:
High is more than 1.5g salt per 100g (0.6g sodium)
Low is 0.3g salt or less per 100g (0.1g sodium)
Less salty eating out
54% of customers surveyed by CASH found meals were too salty when eating out. Ask the chef to go easy on the salt and check the restaurant’s website beforehand for the worst salty dishes to avoid.
Go for normal size portions rather than larger ones.
Cut down on the sauces (barbecue, tomato, soy sauce etc..) and gravy.
Choose a vegetable or chicken topping rather than pepperoni and ham pizzas.
Pasta dishes made with sauces based on tomatoes, vegetable or chicken can be lower in salt than ones based on cheese or bacon.
Why not try chicken, egg, mozzarella, avocado or roasted peppers rather than ham or cheddar cheeses at the sandwich bar.
A little pinch here and there soon adds up to an extra burden on your heart and body, so become salt-aware, shake off those salty habits at home and demand a lesser salt load when eating out.
Don’t swim in salt, give your salt taste buds a rest and enjoy the other flavours of a heart-healthier diet.
For more information and advice about healthy living, contact Heart Research UK via email email@example.com