Getting savvy about sodium intake
By now, most people are aware of the fact that sodium (salt) can pose health risks, particularly for cardiovascular diseases, but many people continue to consume far more salt than they should. Make sure you and your family are not putting yourself at risk with sodium. Here’s some tips to help you cut down on salt intake.
Know the safe levels
Our bodies need salt, as it plays a role in healthy muscle movement and in maintaining the balance of fluids in our bodies. However, most people consume more sodium than they should. Guidelines recommend that people limit their total daily sodium intake to 1 500 mg per day, which equals about three quarters of a teaspoon.
Know the culprits
Salt is found in most foods that we eat daily, and more so in food that comes in packets or is canned. Salty snacks and fast food items are typically loaded with salt, but other sources that you might not expect include bread, and even sweet items like biscuits. Manufacturers often use salt as a preservative, so a food with a high salt content may not necessarily taste salty. Learn how to read food labels so that you can identify food items high in sodium, and spot the alternative names or clues regarding salt content – like monosodium glutamate (MSG) and soy sauce. A label that reads “no salt added” does not necessarily mean the product has a low sodium content, it just means the manufacturer did not add any more salt to what was already in the item.
Break salt habits
Most of us are in the habit of adding salt while cooking or preparing food, and having a salt shaker on the table for the family to add salt to the dish according to their taste. Cook with spices – this way you can cut down on salt and still enjoy wonderful flavours. Remove the salt shaker from the dinner table – often it’s just reached for automatically, sometimes before someone has even tasted the food.
The information in this article is intended for general purposes only. If you have any concerns about your health or the health of your child, you should always consult with a healthcare professional.