Health, Lifestyle, Parenting

How To Eat Less Salt

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  • Category Health, Lifestyle, Parenting

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 meatsPolony, ham, bacon, sausages, corned beef, pickled tongue, bacon, salami, pepperoni and smoked pork
Pre-packaged and convenience mealsReady meals and take away foods (pies, pizzas, pastas, etc).
Stocks and packet, tinned soupsUsed to flavour or thicken soups, stews or casseroles.

Some soups can provide more than half a teaspoon of salt per portion.

CheeseProcessed cheese, cheese spreads, blue cheese and feta cheese
Salty nibbles and snacksCrisps, salted/flavoured pretzels or popcorn, crackers and salted nuts.
SaucesWorcestershire, 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
ChickenCoriander, basil, chives, dill, fennel, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, marjoram, mint, oregano, paprika, parsley, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, white pepper, white wine
BeefCurry, balsamic vinegar, black pepper, horseradish, mustard, red wine, tomato
FishBay leaf, dill, fennel, lemon juice, onion, parsley, tarragon, tomato, white pepper, white wine
Ostrich or venisonCoriander, onion, pineapple, tomato chilli
Lamb Curry, aniseed, basil, cardamom, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, juniper berry, mint, mustard, oregano, redcurrant jelly, rosemary
RiceCoriander, onion, red or green peppers, saffron
PastaBasil, 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
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