Five ways to slash your salt intake
According to recent data, Australian adults are eating more than 7.4 million kilograms of added salt, aka sodium. That’s enough to fill 760 Olympic-sized pools, every year. That is a staggering statistic! And it’s playing havoc on the health of our hearts, kidneys and bones.
Something has to give. Our lives clearly depend on it!
Let’s explore the science and discuss some alternatives to the salty stuff. Your hearts will thank you for it.
To refresh your memories from high school biology days: wherever salt goes, water will follow. So, a diet high in salt has been shown to increase blood pressure via this mechanism, as the extra salt in the blood vessels is escorted by additional water. This causes additional strain on your heart to effectively pump the blood around the body. Reducing salt in your diet can ease the pressure on your blood vessels and reduce the load on the heart. You can lower your salt intake by learning to become a savvy shopper, choosing fresh foods, experimenting with different herbs and spices to find flavour combinations that delight. Let’s see how that looks in practice.
Much of the salt we eat is from packaged and processed foods – almost 75% to be exact. Minimising our reliance on certain packaged foods will likely reduce our overall sodium intake. By all means, continue to eat whole grain bread and cereals as well as tinned legumes and canned fish, but reduce your overall consumption of chips, pretzels, processed meats etc. Instead, maximise your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats and protein alternatives as well as whole grains.
Know your labels
Knowledge is power. If you know what’s in your food, you can make healthier and more informed choices about what to eat and what to leave on the supermarket shelf. When it comes to sodium, choose products with less than 400mg per 100g. Better yet, select foods with less than 120mg of sodium per 100g – it’s the gold standard!
Be a matchmaker
Experiment with herbs and spices and learn flavoursome partnerships. Recreate tried and true winning combos by adding basil to your tomatoes, cooking dill and salmon, sage and pork, thyme and lamb, parsley and chickpeas, as well as garlic with your roast veggies. Discover new and exciting culinary partnerships.
Load up on fruit and vegetables
It’s clear that Aussies don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables. In fact, only 7% of us meet our vegetable requirement and a little over half of us meet our fruit requirement each day. It’s astounding! Fruit and veggies contain a wide array of different nutrients including potassium. This important mineral counters the actions of sodium so it can help to decrease blood pressure and ease the burden on our cardiovascular system. Check out my plant-based recipe eBook for some culinary inspiration.
Make the swap
Ditch regular table salt for Heart SALT! It has 56% less sodium making it a suitable alternative. Plus, it tastes just like regular salt (salt lovers rejoice). Products like Heart SALT along with the above tips on how to choose lower sodium packaged foods could really benefit our overall heart health. And that’s something worth celebrating!
Be weary of trendy options like pink Himalayan salts that promise to deliver up to 84 key nutrients. It’s just persuasive marketing that contains not a grain of truth. You can get all the nutrients you need from eating a diet rich in fresh fruit, veggies, dairy, meat, fish, tofu, legumes and whole grains without having to rely on the minute traces of nutrients in pink Himalayan salt.
This is a paid partnership with Heart Salt.