Salt is so abundant in our diets, from breads to soups to sauces and even biscuits. Sodium is a necessary electrolyte in the body. Sodium is one of the three main electrolytes along with potassium, and chloride. Electrolytes are necessary for maintain heart rate and maintaining fluid balance. We require a minimum of 1.5 grams with an average of 4 grams. No more than 6 grams of salt should be consumed HOWEVER, most people are consuming between 9-12 grams on a daily basis.
Too much salt= major health problems. It can lead to water rendition, increase asthma and bone thinning, increases the blood pressure as well as the risk for heart disease, stroke, and renal disease.
Surprisingly most of the salt hidden in foods (roughly 70 %!) and not what we add to our food. Food label claims have specific rules to follow. One of the biggest food labels nutrients that confuse people is the about of sodium & what it means. Most of our salt intake is hidden in the foods we buy at the supermarket.
Here is a guide to recognise the salt content of your food:
– Sodium-free: Less than 5 milligrams of sodium per serving
– Very low-sodium: 35 milligrams or less per serving
– Low-sodium: Less than 140 milligrams per serving
– Reduced sodium: Sodium level reduced by 25% (compared to the original product)
– Unsalted, no salt added, or without added salt: Made without the salt that’s normally used, but still contains the sodium that’s a -natural part of the food itself.
Here are some low salt foods you can eat at any meal
Fruit & Vegetables
Fresh fruit & vegetables are naturally low in salt and can be eaten at any meal, Frozen fruit & vegetable without any sauce will also be low in salt
Particularly: apple, lemon, cucumber, eggplant, strawberries, plums, mango and asparagus
Beware the tinned fruit & vegetables that will be loaded with salt.
Herbs & Spices
Fresh herbs & spices are not only low in salt but have many nutritional benefits such as being anti-inflammatory, stimulating metabolism & promoting digestion
Particularly: garlic, pepper, basil, chilli, ginger and turmeric
Beware packaged herbs and spices – always check to make sure the first ingredient listed isn’t salt
Raw Nuts & Seeds
Emphasis is on the raw with nuts & seeds which are packed full of protein & essential fatty acids
Particularly: almonds, pepitas, sunflower seeds, cashew nuts & Brazil nuts
Avoid salted nuts & seeds
Fresh Meat & Seafood
Lean meat, fish, poultry are naturally low in salt
Particularly: eggs, chicken and beef
Avoid smoked, cured, heavily processed items
High in protein and nutrients unprocessed legumes are an ideal addition to daily intake.
Particularly navy beans, black beans, kidney beans and peas.
Avoid tinned & processed legumes.
Be sure to focus on fresh produce, whole foods & avoid pacakged foods as much as possible
Here are some tips to reducing salt in your diet
– Increase potassium foods i.e.: avocado and kiwi fruit.
– Choose fresh whole fruits and vegetables.
– Choose frozen or canned food items without added salts.
– Select unsalted nuts or seeds.
– Avoid adding salt and canned vegetables with added sodium to homemade dishes.
– Choose unsalted, lower-sodium, fat-free items.
– Add fresh lemon juice instead of salt to fish and vegetables.