Eating too much sodium, most of which we get from salt, can lead to high blood pressure. This in turn can cause heart disease, kidney disease and strokes. So it is worth trying to cut down the amount of salt eaten.
Almost two-thirds of the salt we consume are added by food manufacturers when food is processed. Of the remainder, about half is added at home during cooking or at the table and half is naturally present in food.
Low salt diets may assist in the prevention and treatment of high blood pressure and The Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa (HSFSA) recommends that not more than one teaspoon (6g) of salt per day should be consumed.
- The average diet contains an average of 9g of sodium.
- A low salt diet contains 2 – 2.5g of sodium ( +- 1tsp salt)
High salt foods to be used in moderation:
|Processed, smoked and cured meats||Polony, ham, bacon, sausages, corned beef, pickled tongue, bacon, salami, pepperoni and smoked pork|
|Pre-packaged and convenience meals||Ready meals and take away foods (pies, pizzas, pastas, etc).|
|Stocks and packet, tinned soups||Used to flavour or thicken soups, stews or casseroles.
Some soups can provide more than half a teaspoon of salt per portion.
|Cheese||Processed cheese, cheese spreads, blue cheese and feta cheese|
|Salty nibbles and snacks||Crisps, salted/flavoured pretzels or popcorn, crackers and salted nuts.|
|Sauces||Worcestershire, soya, tomato and barbeque sauce|
|Pickles||Gherkins, pickled onions, capers, artichokes, atjaar and other pickled vegetables|
|Hard margarine or salted butter|
Use the minimum amount of salt in cooking:
- Try not to add further salt at the table. Always taste food before you add salt
- It may help to gradually reduce your salt intake, so that you can get used to the taste changes
- Try using more herbs and spices to flavour your foods
- Don’t use salt substitutes as they are high in other minerals
- Try to cut down on foods that are high in salt such as tinned, packaged and processed foods, tinned and packet soups, stock cubes, chips, salted nuts and salty meats like ham and bacon
- Avoid sauces that contain lots of salt e.g. soya sauce
- Check processed foods to see if salt, sodium bicarbonate, sodium benzoate or monosodium glutamates are mentioned among the ingredients
- Check labels for sodium content – a low sodium food is one containing less than 120 mg sodium per 100g weight of food
- Limit sodium intake to less than 2g/day (1t = 2,3g)
Healthy alternatives for flavouring foods
If you use salt in food preparation, do not add extra salt at the table. Learn to use herbs and spices instead of salt, and to enjoy the natural flavour of food. Here are some ideas:
|Pork||Apple, cider, coriander, ginger, lime, orange, sage, thyme|
|Chicken||Coriander, basil, chives, dill, fennel, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, marjoram, mint, oregano, paprika, parsley, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, white pepper, white wine|
|Beef||Curry, balsamic vinegar, black pepper, horseradish, mustard, red wine, tomato|
|Fish||Bay leaf, dill, fennel, lemon juice, onion, parsley, tarragon, tomato, white pepper, white wine|
|Ostrich or venison||Coriander, onion, pineapple, tomato chilli|
|Lamb||Curry, aniseed, basil, cardamom, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, juniper berry, mint, mustard, oregano, redcurrant jelly, rosemary|
|Rice||Coriander, onion, red or green peppers, saffron|
|Pasta||Basil, black pepper, garlic, oregano|
|Potatoes||Black pepper, nutmeg, parsley, paprika, (low fat or fat free) yoghurt|
|Salads||Coriander, basil, black pepper, garlic, lemon juice, oregano, (low fat or fat free) yoghurt, toasted flaked almonds|