No surprises, but we, as a population, eat far too much salt. On the average, each of us downs about 7 kilos of it a year.
We as a population consume a shocking amount of salt, most of it unknowingly.
It’s easy to identify the salt in some of our favourite foods such as potato chips, snack foods, salted nuts, hot chips, etc. But did you also know that there is an abundance of salt lurking in plenty of other foods as well like tinned soups and packaged foods?
Snack foods like chips and nuts often contain a large amount of salt, but so does a lot of other food that may surprise you.
More than half of the salt we eat comes from processed foods but you need to watch out for natural foods as well. Items like cottage cheese are high in sodium, as is beetroot, celery and turnips. Even our drinking water has sodium.
With high blood pressure being a common health concern for many, how can you minimise the amount of salt you take into your diet? Try these hints:
With obesity and high blood pressure on the rapid rise, it's important to consider how much salt we consume.
Cook without salt. If people want to add it to foods at the table they can, but it’s impossible to take it out once it’s in.
Taste before you salt. Too many of us automatically pick up the salt shaker and add it to our food with a good dousing without even tasting if it’s needed.
Cooking without salt is a good way to cut back. Let others add salt to their food after it's been cooked. And always taste before salting out of habit.
Check the labels of medications. Some medications contain an alarmingly high level of sodium. Antacids are notorious offenders. If you’re watching your sodium intake, ask your doctor which medications are lower in sodium.
Watch out for processed foods. Salt is a preservative so most processed foods contain more salt than they should. Opt for ‘low sodium’ foods or buy frozen vegetables over tinned. If you use tinned produce, rinse it and cook it in fresh water. Use unsalted butter or margarine and choose cheese that is low sodium.
Many processed, especially tinned foods like soups and veggies, are loaded with salt, always read the labels.
Try seasoning with herbs and spices. Raid your spice cupboard and see what you can find. Lemon juice is also a delicious substitute that adds plenty of flavour. Or try a sprinkle of white pepper, garlic powder or dry mustard for added taste.