Giving up sugar is a breeze for those with a savoury tooth. However, crackers, crisps, and canned food come loaded with another white substance: salt, which can be equally over-consumed. Find out why you might be hooked on salt and how it harms your health.
It’s no secret that salt boosts the flavour factor of many meals and snacks, and while a small pinch is fine, our current diets are loaded with too much of the added stuff. According to the Heart Foundation, the average Australian eats a whopping 9 grams of salt per day; way above the upper recommended limit of 6 grams per day. In fact, over 75 per cent of the salt we consume comes from processed foods and takeaways, which can shift our tastebuds to have more of a preference for only the salty stuff.
Having a high salt intake can be harmful to your health, increasing your risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and stroke. There is also evidence of a link between high salt intake and stomach cancer, osteoporosis, and even obesity.
If you’re wondering how to cut back, here are 3 simple ways to keep salt intake under control:
Read the fine print: Choose ‘No Added Salt’ varieties of canned foods where possible and look for products with less than 120mg of sodium per 100g. Food high in salt is greater than 500mg per 100g. And it’s not just salty foods that you need to watch out for; breakfast cereals, snack bars, bread, crackers and foods marketed to children can also be surprisingly high in sodium.
Alternate flavouring: adding a variety of fresh or dried herbs and spices, garlic, onion, lemons, or ginger to your cooking can create great flavour without excess sodium.
DIY: sauces and condiments can be notoriously high in sodium, but are a breeze to make yourself. A pasta sauce of instance can whopped up in a flash. Simply sauté some garlic and onion as a base, then add no added salt tinned tomatoes, grated vegetables and fresh herbs. Simmer gently for 45 minutes and you’ve got yourself a delicious homemade sauce.