Why excess salt is harmful?
Eating too much salt or sodium raises the volume of body fluids resulting in increased blood pressure. High blood pressure can be a risk factor for heart disease, kidney disease and stroke. Hence, we must limit our salt intake to stay healthy and fit.
Where is the sodium hidden in your diet?
Apart from table salt, processed foods and restaurant foods can contribute substantially to your sodium intake.
- Traditional foods such as pickles, papad, chat masala
- Processed foods such as ready-to-use wraps, scones and sandwiches, pasta sauces, savoury snacks like chips, salted nuts, pizza, ready meals, quick cooking noodles,
soup powders, sausages, tomato ketchup, soya sauce, mayonnaise and other ready-to-use sauces etc.
- Salt is a hidden component in lots of food items which do not taste salty such as bread, cereals, baked beans, biscuits, pastries, etc.
- Sodium is also part of many food additives used in processed foods such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium nitrite, sodium bicarbonate or baking soda.
- Restaurant food such as Chinese food
Here are some tips to cut down your salt intake:
Avoid eating high salt foods
Try to avoid or limit processed foods which contain high amount of salt or sodium. Instead include foods such as whole grains, beans, milk and milk products, fresh fruits and vegetables more often.
Chuck that salt shaker
Don’t add extra salt on your plate while at the dining table. Instead squeeze a lemon that will add some tanginess and also boost vitamin C content of your meal.
Check the label
Before buying processed foods, check the nutrition facts label of the products to know the salt content. Choose products labeled as ‘low sodium’ or ‘no salt added’ or ‘salt free’.
Compare brands for their salt content
Salt content of food varies between different brands of processed foods. You can compare the brands and select the ones that are low in salt.