Salt is sneaky. It hides away in processed, pre-packed and pre-made food products, from takeaway meals through to pre-made sauces. In fact, many of us more salt than we realise, and although we need salt, too much of it can be bad for our health.
Accredited practising dietitian Joel Feren say it’s easy to reduce your salt intake.
“Salt - aka sodium - is a necessary nutrient. However, too much of it can lead to heart disease and kidney failure,” says Joel. “This is because it causes extra strain on your heart to effectively pump the blood around the body. So, reducing sodium in your diet can ease the pressure on your blood vessels and reduce the load on the heart.”
The Heart Foundation reports that 75 per cent of our salt intake comes from processed foods, including cooking sauces. Other foods that are high in salt include chips, bacon, frozen meals, biscuits and cakes. The organisation also reports that anything frozen, packaged or tinned is also high in salt.
5 easy ways to reduce the amount of salt you eat
1. Know your labels
“Knowledge is power. If you know what’s in your food, you can make better and more informed choices about what to eat and what to leave on the supermarket shelf,” says Joel. “When it comes to sodium, choose products with less than 400mg per 100g. Better yet, select foods with less than 120mg of sodium per 100g for a gold medal winner.”
2. Natural is best
“Opting for low-processed foods is gold standard! Much of the sodium we consume is actually derived from processed foods,” says Joel. “Nevertheless, there’s no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater so don’t give up healthy packaged foods like whole grain breakfast cereals and breads, tinned fish or canned lentils, but reduce your intake of chips, processed meats, pretzels etc.”
3. Experiment with new flavours
“Experiment with herbs and spices to maximise flavor,” says Joel. “Well-established flavour combinations include tomato and basil, fish and lemon as well as pork and sage. Jazz it up and discover your own culinary partnerships.”
4. Load up on fruit and vegetables
“It’s clear that Aussies don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables. In fact, only 7 per cent of us meet our vegetable requirement and a little over half of us meet our fruit requirement each day,” says Joel. “Fruit and vegies contain a wide array of different nutrients, including potassium. This vital mineral opposes the actions of sodium so it can help reduce blood pressure and ease the load on our cardiovascular system.”
5. Make the switch
“Ditch regular table salt for Heart SALT! It has 56 per cent less sodium, making it a suitable alternative. Your heart and kidneys will thank you for making the change.”
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