Our bodies need some salt for healthy functioning. However, as with most things, too much salt in our diets can lead to problems such as raised blood pressure, and ultimately a higher risk of heart disease, so it’s worth keeping within safe limits.
Adults and children in the UK consume more salt, on average, than the maximum recommendations: 3 grams per day for children aged four to six years, and no more than 6 grams per day for healthy adults. And we do not have to add salt to be eating too much - 75% of the salt we eat is “hidden” in everyday food, such as bread, breakfast cereal and ready meals.
Top tips for reducing salt
- Go for healthy snacks such as veg sticks, fruit and toast rather than crisps and other salty, savoury snacks.
- Swap ham and cheese sandwiches for chicken, or tuna canned in water rather than brine.
- Cured meats and smoked fish can be high in salt so try to eat these less often. Choose tinned vegetables and pulses without added salt.
- Eat home-cooked meals, as pre-prepared is often high in salt.
- Use herbs, spices and black pepper to flavour food during cooking rather than salt.
- Most food products now display a ‘traffic light’ label to help you make a healthier choice. Check labels and choose lower salt and reduces salt options. There can be a really big difference between different types and brands.
- Make your own stock or gravy – choose reduced salt versions of commercial stock cubes and gravy granules.
- Go easy on soy sauce, mustard, pickles, mayonnaise and other table sauces as these can all be high in salt.
- Keep salt off the table at mealtimes to discourage people from adding salt to their meal.
Children are more likely to enjoy a wide variety of foods when mealtimes are relaxed
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