We all love our food to taste great, and seasoning our food is a great way to add flavour, but how much does salt affect our health? 

Diets high in salt have been associated with many health risks.  It can raise your blood pressure; high blood pressure increases our risk of heart disease and stroke.  It also reduces the kidneys ability to remove excess water from our bodies.

How much should we have?

The current average salt consumed per day is 8 grams!  We should limit ourselves to less than 6g per day.  We should be careful to not eliminate salt from our diet, less than 2g per day can lead to hyponatremia, which can cause dehydration and headaches.  But what about sodium?  Well, 6g of salt is equivalent to 2.4g sodium.  So, if you eat under 6g of salt you should be under the sodium limit.

How do I know how much salt in a product?

Most food is labelled with a traffic light system.  If the salt label is in green, it is low in salt, if it is orange it has medium salt,  and if it is red it has high salt content.  Avoid the orange and red the best you can. 

Picture 1

Image taken from the Action on Salt website.

How can I lower my salt intake?

Here are some easy ways to control your dietary salt intake:

  •     Try to cook homemade meals, this way you can control how much salt you add.  Just add salt during cooking and use herbs and spices to flavour your food instead of more salt.
  •      Processed foods from the supermarket such as tomato sauce for pasta, soups, bread, butter, cheese, and ready meals are usually high in salt, so eat these in low quantities and read the labels.
  •      Look for the reduced salt options in the supermarkets and avoid foods with a red salt label.
  •      When eating out or eating a takeaway there are no labels!  Do not add additional salt.  The salt content may already be high.

Any further questions on salt, please ask the exercise physiologists.

Ryan Hodgkinson