Sunday, May 12, 2013

How much salt are you eating??

Too Salty ???

Eating too much salt increases the risk of developing high blood pressure (hypertension)....this is also a major risk factor for heart disease, kidney disease and stroke. By reducing the salt intake it is possible to reduce one's blood pressure and the health problems caused.

Salt is a dietary mineral primarily composed of 40 percent sodium and 60 percent chloride. As a universal food seasoning and an excellent food preservative, salt is found in almost all foods. 

Try to take less than 2,4 milligrams of sodium a day which is the same as 6 grams of salt per day (approx 1 teaspoon). This includes ALL sodium and salt intake.

Typically high Sodium Foods include:
  • Convenience and canned foods. For example: frozen dinners, pizza, packet and tinned soups plus canned vegetables
  • Processed meats such as viennas, russians, polony, ham, bacon or tinned, smoked meats and fish
  • Take-aways
  • Cheese and cheese spreads
  • Snack foods including crackers, chips and dips, salty biscuits, pretzels, biltong, nuts as well as commercially prepared popcorn
  • Condiments such as stock cubes and powder, pickles, olives, chicken spice, barbeque spice, celery salt, garlic salt, onion salt, lemon salt, Aromat, Marmite or Bovril
  • Sauces – Worchester, barbecue, tomato, teriyaki and soy sauces, mayonnaise, salad dressings and salsa
  • Bakery items including breads, biscuits and pastries

Tips to help reduce your salt intake...
Surrender the salt shaker- Refrain from having the salt shaker at the table where it is easily accessible. Taste your food before automatically adding salt. Pay attention to the amount of salt added whilst cooking food since it often is unnecessary.  

Experiment with herbs and spices- these add great flavour and can replace salt to a large extent. 
  • Herbs and Spices add flavour and zest to meals
  • Basil leaves, garlic, onions, citrus juices and vinegar can be mixed and matched to satisfy your taste buds. 
  • Make use of fresh and dried herbs. Good examples to use are: coriander, rosemary, parsley and thyme.
  • Black pepper, paprika, ginger, curry, cinnamon and mustard powder are great alternatives too. 

Read food labels - Compare different varieties of your favourite foods and choose those with the lowest amounts of sodium. Select unsalted nuts or seeds, dried beans, peas and lentils. 

Make homemade meals more often - Foods served at traditional and fast food restaurants are mostly high in sodium. Preferably enjoy home-cooked, where you can control the amount of salt added to food. 
  • Avoid adding salt and canned vegetables to homemade meals.
  • Make your own sauces, stocks and gravies. 

Remove the salt - Try to remove the sodium from canned foods, such as tuna, tinned fish and beans, by rinsing.  
It is preferable to use fresh veggies! 
Another tip is to select fat-free or low-fat milk, low-sodium and low-fat cheeses and low-fat yogurt.
Snack wise - Limit salty snacks. Select unsalted nuts and popcorn instead.
The Dietitian's Life Xx

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