Well I have been so busy lately running the usual day to day business that I nearly missed National Salt Awareness Week. What did you say? – Ok so I am a day late but anyhow the message I’m about to give is still important so let's not sweat it.
Raising awareness on how much salt we eat can’t be a bad thing but I am a little dissapointed that we didnt see as much media coverage as I would have liked to truly make families in Great Britain sit up and take notice. I will take on the role as health advocate and educate you as much as I can for as long as I can keep you interested in this blog!
Salt – What's the issue?
Eating a diet with a high salt intake (sodium) can have a detrimental affect on your health. One of the major concerns of salt on your health is the negative impact it can have on your blood pressure. A high salt intake diet can increase your blood pressure which, in turn, can increase your risk of a heart attack, stroke and heart disease significantly. So what are we talking about when we say ‘a diet high in salt’? The recomended daily allowance (RDA) of salt is 6 grams for an adult, 2-6 grams for a child from 1 years old up to 11 years old and 1 gram for a baby under 12 months. Now that may seem like a small amount and the majority of us would look at our diets and think that we avoid adding salt to our meals therefore limiting the amount of consumption. The problem is it is added to most pre-packaged foods that we buy and not necessarily known to us.
Most people already know that foods like crisps or dry roasted nuts are high in salt, but you might be surprised how much salt every day foods can add to your diet. Around three quarters of the salt we eat has already been added to our food before we buy it.
As well as foods like packet soups and sauces and ready meals, every day foods like bread and breakfast cereals often have added salt too. Because we eat these foods so often, the amount of salt they provide can really add up.
How do I know how much salt I’m eating?
One of the best ways to work out how much salt you’re eating is to check the food label or nutritional information on the packaging of any food you’re buying or eating. If you’re eating pre-prepared food, like a soup, pizza or a ready-meal, take a look at the ‘amount per serving’ to see how much salt is in your whole meal.
How much is too much per 100g?
LOW 0g - 0.3g
MEDIUM 0.3g – 1.5g
HIGH more than 1.5g
LOW 0g - 0.1g
MEDIUM 0.1g - 0.6g
HIGH more than 0.6g
The majority of the foods we eat have a traffic light system included which provides guidelines into whether the food source has low,meduim or high amounts of salt per 100g. Avoiding foods which have a red traffic light for salt and limiting amber is the best solution to reducing salt overall. Prepare meals from scratch with high amounts of fruit, vegetables and wholegrains and avoid ready made meals is the best advice I can give.
Here's to our healthy hearts my friends !