Patient Education Lower Your Salt Intake in 5 Easy Steps
We all add a little extra salt to our food from time to time, but did you know that that little bit of salt could be damaging your health?
With 5% of salt naturally occurring in food while an additional 40% of salt is added during cooking or at the table, nearly 55% of salt can be found in processed food. So, we’re all continuously consuming large amounts of salt that our body doesn’t want. Yes, your body doesn’t want (or need) the extra salt.
Eating too much salt leads to high blood pressure and 1 in 3 South African adults already suffer from it. High blood pressure is a slow killer as it can lead to heart disease, stroke or a heart attack. Another scary fact is that 50% of people with high blood pressure don’t even know it because they rarely experience any symptoms. This puts them in even greater risk because they cannot consciously manage their health.
Adults should not be consuming more than 5g of salt per day, which is the same as 2000mg of sodium. To cut down on your salt intake and increase your heart health, Unilever has crafted 5 easy ways to 5grams.
- Cut down gradually
Begin gradually adding less salt to your meals during cooking and on the table and soon enough your taste buds will adapt as well.
- Flavour meals
Instead of using salt as your main flavouring, try using any of Unilever’s various herbs and spices, garlic, ginger or chilli substitutes (from either Rajah or Robertsons) and assorted citrus to flavour your meals as these will add the depth you need without the additional salt.
- Check food labels
Check the labels on food when shopping as this will help you identify those foods which are lowest in sodium. To save yourself some time, look out for the Heart Mark, as this is an easy identifier for low sodium foods.
- Remove the salt shaker
Take the salt and salty sauces, off the table so that younger family members won’t develop a salt habit and in turn you’ll reduce their risk of cardiovascular problems in future.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
The vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables as well as wholegrains such as lentils, beans and low-fat dairy, help to lower blood pressure. Always remember to drain and rinse canned vegetables and beans, as the brine they are preserved in might also contain additional salt.