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While some sodium in the diet is necessary for health, it can raise blood pressure (raised blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke and heart disease). Salt (sodium chloride) is the main source of sodium in our diet. Adults should eat less than 6g of salt per day. The food industry are reducing the amount of salt in many foods but a lot of the salt we eat is found in processed foods and it is important to look at the labels to select lower salt options. For more information on labels, click here.
A decreasing sense of taste as we age can encourage us to add more salt to meals for flavour. Watch the amount you add at the table and use herbs, spices and a variety of different foods to flavour meals instead of adding salt.
Reducing salt in the diet can be easy, it just involves making a few small changes to the foods you choose and the methods you use to cook them. Try these ideas:
• Be careful of foods that may be high in salt such as bacon, pickles, smoked fish, anchovies, soy sauce, bottled sauces, gravy, stock cubes, cured meats, and some packet soups
• Always check the labels and choose reduced salt versions where possible
• For foods high in salt, opt for smaller portions of these foods and don’t eat them too often
• When choosing canned vegetables, pulses and fish pick those that say no added salt or are canned in water
• Use herbs and spices, such as garlic, ginger, chilli, lemon or lime, to flavour meals rather than adding salt
• Leave the salt cellar off the table. This will remove the temptation to add it to your plate
• Gradually cut down on the salt you are eating. Your taste will slowly adapt to eating food that is less salty.
Did you know...
Sea salt contains as much sodium as table salt. It doesn't matter how expensive salt is, where it is from, or whether it comes in grains, crystals or flakes - it still contains sodium. It's the sodium in salt that can raise your blood pressure and increase your risk of suffering from heart disease.