How to reduce your salt intake … kitchen helper
We all know that consuming too much salt is bad for our health. Excess sodium can have detrimental effects on blood pressure and in turn heart health, and despite health messages, we as a nation still consume too much salt. So how do we reduce our salt intake and reduce the risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and stroke? Here are our top 6 tips.
1. Read nutrition labels – processed and packaged foods are responsible for most of the salt that we eat. The Australian Heart Foundation recommends a maximum of 5g of salt (2000mg sodium) per day. This is the equivalent of about 1 teaspoon. Read labels on food to find out how much hidden salt is inside. Look at the “per 100g” column and choose foods that are low salt (fewer than 120mg sodium per 100g) or moderate salt (fewer than 400mg salt per 100g). You can also look for foods labelled as “low salt”, “salt reduced” or “no added salt”.
2. Eat more vegetables and fruit – fresh foods like fruit and veg are unprocessed and naturally low in salt, making them great choices for your heart health.
3. Ditch the takeaway – takeaway food is often high in salt. Prepare and cook your food at home and you will have control over how much salt you are consuming.
4. Rinse canned foods that contain sodium – rinsing legumes, beans, canned vegetables and fish will help reduce salt intake.
5. Get spicy – you can trick your tastebuds by using spices to your food. Try smoked paprika or garlic to add flavour without salt. Browning and caramelising ingredients also adds a base level of flavour to dishes that will help replace salt.
6. Cut it back – many people who eat too much salt have simply developed a taste for it. Gradually reduce the amount of salt that you use in your cooking and you will barely notice the difference.