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Cut down on salt

25.02.2014 | Posted by: Hagara-Nagy Nóra

Excessive salt intake is a big problem today. High amount of salt leads to high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart failure and coronary diseases. Excessive salt consumption is more dangerous for the elderly and infants as elevated blood pressure caused by the salt puts more strain on the weak and developing body.

The recommended daily salt intake is 5-6 grams, which is approximately the amount of one teaspoon. The average daily salt consumption is 9-12 grams in the European Union with high regional differences, for example in Hungary the daily amount is 15-20 grams.

Which foods contain too much salt? The most important products are the processed food and ready meals; salt is added during the processing of these products. These foods typically  includes sausages, ham, dairy products, spice mixes and pastries. The best way of salt reduction if we eat less of these, or if we make most of the food by ourselves. Even one bread roll can contain 1 gram of salt, but a frozen pizza can also have up to 5 grams of salt, and this is already the amount of our daily requirement. Surprisingly mineral water should also be included in the daily salt consumption because of its sodium content.

TIPS for reducing salt intake:

Avoid processed products and ready meals.

Eat more food with low salt content.

Do not use spice mixes with salt, or if it can not be avoided, count this amount into the total amount of salt during cooking.

Most of the packaging contains nutrition labels. The amount of salt in the product can be calculated from the indicated sodium content. The ratio is 2.5, which means that 1 gram of sodium is equivalent to 2.5 grams of salt.

Do not use salt at the dining table! Use spices instead for seasoning food which give intense flavour (herbs, curry, coriander, dill).

Do not overdo salt reduction: salt is essential for life. A daily consumption of 3-5 grams is required.

Useful links in this topic:

NHS Choices: Salt

World Action on Salt & Health

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