How much salt is too much salt?

What you need to know:

Salt has been used for centuries to flavour and preserve our meals, but according to home doctors, we’re eating too much of it.

For adults, it is recommended by The Australian National Health and Research Council that one teaspoon of salt (5g) should be ingested each day.

However, on average, the Australian diet consists of up to 8g of salt per day. Even though our bodies need salt, this average is too high.

In the body, salt is used to regulate and circulate blood and other fluids, however, if too much is ingested, it can lead to high blood pressure, strokes and heart disease.

This becomes an issue when you look at how many people in Australia suffer from high blood pressure. According to The Medibank Better Health Index, in 2017, 15.3% of Australians had high blood pressure.

What food contains salt?

Even though we may enjoy adding a pinch of salt to our meals, our food is often already high in salt content and is hidden in packaged and processed foods. According to the experts at House Call Doctor, some of the more common contributors to salt intake, and they include:

  1. Bread contains 0.76g of salt which is 15% of your daily intake in just two slices. To reduce this, look for loaves with 400mg of sodium per 100g.
  2. Haloumi and feta cheese have some of the highest levels of salt content between different types of cheese. Switching to swiss cheese is better for you as there is less salt but it still contains high amounts of both protein and calcium.
  3. Sauces that come pre-made such as tomato sauce, pasta sauce, salad dressings and even dips have large amounts of salt. To reduce this, try to buy reduced salt sauces or even have a go at making your own.
  4. Sausages, salami, bacon and other processed meats are fan favourites but have also got huge amounts of salts for preservation. The best to choose are chicken or turkey breast as they are less salty for your sandwiches.

Ways to reduce salt in your diet

There are many ways to reduce your salt intake. For example, home doctors recommend that you avoid packaged and processed foods like deli meats, dips and sauces, and choosing reduced salt options will cut back on your salt intake.

Reducing the amount of salt in your cooking is also a great option, as your taste buds will adapt within a couple of weeks. Instead of salt, why not use some exotic herbs and spices to bring out the flavour in your food?

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