Do you like eating salty food, especially crispy potato chips? If you are, read on.
The UK government recommends a maximum of:
- 6 gram of salt for adults
- 5 gram a day for children aged 7 to 10
- 3 gram for children aged 4 to 6 daily.
However, we have taken more than enough salt from the processed food we eat everyday, especially if we eat out. For example, a family of four sharing a Pizza Hut meal deal – consisting of one Cheesy Bites Meat Feast, one medium Super Supreme, a portion of garlic bread, a portion of potato wedges, chicken wings, and a cheesecake dessert – each could end up eating 12.3 gram of salt. In this case, the amount of salt consumed in one meal is more than twice the daily limit for an adult and four times the daily limit of a six year old.
The main health effect of too much sodium is high blood pressure which can cause heart disease, stroke and renal disease. Have you ever been confused by the nutritional labels on food? Salt or sodium, what is the difference?
Salt is made up of sodium and chloride. Sodium is the part of salt that increases blood pressure. Why? Body needs sodium to hold water in the blood vessels. If too much water is held in the body, the amount of blood increases. If it increases too much, problems will arise. Your kidneys regulate the amount of sodium kept in your body. When sodium levels are low, your kidneys conserve sodium. When levels are high, they excrete the excess amount in urine.
The major sources of sodium in diet are processed foods, as much as three quarters. The remaining of sodium we get it from unprocessed food and at the table from the salt shaker. Even though you may limit the amount of salt you add to food, the food itself may already be high in sodium. So, if we are able to cut down processed foods, we win half of the battle. Realistically, it is difficult to do so.
Tips to Cut Down Sodium:
- Avoid salty snacks such as potato chips, nuts, and pretzels.
- Eat more fresh foods and fewer processed foods. Fresh meat is lower in sodium than luncheon meat, bacon, hot dogs, sausage and ham are.
- Read the label. Look for the words, low-salt or reduced-sodium on products to replace those with high salt.
- Use fresh or frozen vegetables instead of high sodium canned
- Instead of using salt, season meat with lemon juice, pepper, rosemary, mint or ginger.
- Cut down on soy sauce.
- Do not add salt without first tasting your cooked food. Decide only after you have tasted it.
- Ask your mum not to use Monosodium glutamate (MSG) in cooking.
So, the next time you shopped for food in supermarket, read food labels carefully.
Our taste for salt is acquired. So, it is possible unlearn it. Try to cut down, after few weeks, you may no longer miss it. In fact, using less salt, not only it is healthier, you will enjoy the true taste of the food itself, don’t you agree?
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