How to Reduce Salt in Your Daily Diet

Why We Want to Regulate Salt in Daily Diets?

Including salt (sodium chloride) in our food is good as it is very important for a healthy and balanced diet. Sodium is a very essential factor for our body to help maintain water and mineral balances and blood volume. But in taking too much of sodium is not good for our health. Too much salt in food can raise your blood pressure which puts you to an increased risk of congestive heart failure, chronic kidney disease and stroke. Diet that is high in salt can also lead to osteoporosis and stomach cancer.

Recommended Amount of Salt in Daily Diets

Adults can intake not more than 6g (about one full teaspoon) of salt a day. But babies and children below 10 should have less amount of salt than adults. Babies under one year of age should consume less than 1g of salt a day. 75% of the salt that an adult need is already present in everyday food. Breast feeding babies will get the right amount of salt from the breast milk. Formula milk also contains the correct amount of salt.

Daily Recommended Amount of Salt

SL
Age
Amount of salt per day
1
1 to 3
2g(0.8g sodium)
2
4 to 6
3g(1.2g sodium)
3
7 to 10
5g(2g sodium)
4
11 and above
6g(2.4g sodium)
 Reduce or Eliminate Salt
Reduce or Eliminate Salt

Tips to Cut Down Your Daily Salt Intake

Excess salt can potentially prove deadly and there are lots of ways to reduce its amount in our food. Adding less amount of salt is not the only solution for this problem. Although this will help a lot, you must be aware of the salt that is already present in processed food. Ready prepared meals, bread, cereals, biscuits, sauces, soups and tinned vegetables are examples for some food that can be high in salt. But a few simple practical steps can help you cut your salt intake.

  • The nutrition labels on food packaging will help you detect the amount of sodium in it and cut down salt intake. The amount of salt in the food can be detected through this simple way. Salt = sodium x 2.5. So go for foods that claim to be low in sodium, with no added salt.
  • Limit the amount of sauces in your food, especially Soya sauce which contains high amount of salt.
  • Always opt for fresh or frozen vegetables rather than canned ones, which are frequently preserved in sodium-rich brine that tastes metallic and bitter. Even if you go for canned vegetables and pulses, be sure to choose that are marked ‘No added salt’. If you don’t find the sodium- free varieties rinse the content well under water before cooking.
  • There are a number of ways to add flavour to your food without adding extra sodium. This can be done by introducing herbs and spices like garlic, pepper, basil, coriander, chives, oregano, thyme etc in your food.
  • Frozen dinners are usually considered good for health as it contains "low-fat" or "low-calorie". The flavour that is missing in them is brought back by loading them with extra salt.
  • Avoid olives, bacon, cheese, pickles and other items packed in brine as they are saturated in salt. It is same in the case of many smoked and cured meats, like salami and bologna. So limit your intake of these varieties and try to include low-salt snacks such as dried fruit, sticks of vegetables and unsalted nuts.

Cut down on salt and lead a healthy and happy life

Choose for food with potassium that counters the effects of sodium and may also help with blood pressure. Before using the salt shaker taste the food to see if it needs salt. Even if temptations set in, try alternative types of salt such as sea or low salt. Your taste buds will adapt themselves to food without salt if you start practicing it and you will also start discovering the real tastes of your favourite foods. Try to regulate the salt in your diets to lead a healthier and happier life.

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