Health and Wellbeing: Cutting down on salt

Cut it out:  Is it time to reduce your salt intake for the sake of your health? Aussies are consuming too much salt, according to new research.
Cut it out: Is it time to reduce your salt intake for the sake of your health? Aussies are consuming too much salt, according to new research.

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AUSSIE men are consuming almost twice the recommended daily intake of salt. But before you point the finger, ladies, you're not far behind!

Our men are ingesting 10.1 grams a day, with women eating 7.34 grams, according to a study of more than 16,000 people analysed by the Medical Journal of Australia.

The maximum recommended intake from the World Health Organisation is five grams a day.

The research team was led by Bruce Neal of the Food Policy Division of the George Institute for Global Health.

"Strong and consistent evidence indicates that a high dietary salt intake increases blood pressure, which in turn increases the risk of cardiovascular disease," Professor Neal said.

He said reducing the amount of salt we consume is projected to be "one of the most cost-effective strategies for reducing rates of premature death and disability attributable to high blood pressure and vascular disease".

Tips on cutting down on salt

MORE than three-quarters of our salt intake is from processed foods, so while easing up on the salt shaker helps, watching how much salt is in what you buy is even more important.

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Foods we eat everyday – such as bread – can contain high levels of salt.

The Heart Foundation offers the following top tips on how to cut down on salt:

Train your taste buds 

It will only take a few weeks for your taste buds to adjust to less salt and once they do you'll be noticing more other flavours.

Check the food label

Salt is listed as sodium and you need to look for products that have less than 400mg per 100g. Foods with less than 120mg per 100g are considered low in salt.

Switch brands

Your favourite foods could also be in "no added salt" or "low in salt" versions, so go for these.

Stick to fresh

Fresh foods tend to have less salt than processed foods, so buy these when you can.

Limit the salty foods

Lots of processed and fast foods, like packet soups, pizzas and pies, have high levels of salt so try to limit how much of these you eat in a week.

Source: The Senior