This week we are focussing on salt awareness week. You may wonder why it is that we place so much focus on salt intake. This is because consuming excessive amount of salt can have various disadvantages such as contributing towards hypertension (high blood pressure). This article will explore practical ways to decrease salt intake.
Adding salt to food
Do not add salt to food when cooking or before eating. Rather flavour the food with herbs, pepper, curry powder, vinegar, onions, peppers, garlic, rosemary and lemon juice. There are so many other options available rather than using salt.
Salt-containing flavouring agents
Often other spices are used along with salt to flavour food. Avoid salt-containing flavouring agents such as the following: Aromat, garlic salt, lemon-pepper salt, vegetable salt, potato spice, barbeque and chicken spices, meat tenderisers, certain sauces, soup powders, gravy powders, and stock cubes.
Keep an eye out for any “hidden salt”. There are many products that are extremely high in salt and consumers are unaware of it. This is why it is important to be able to read and understand nutritional labels. The first thing to know is that salt is listed as sodium on nutritional labels. The next thing to keep an eye out for is the ingredient list on the packaging. The items on the ingredient list are arranged according to volume or weight. So the higher up sodium is listed with regards to other ingredients, the higher the amount of sodium will be. The last thing to look for is the amount of sodium per 100g on the nutritional label. Below is a table that will help to classify the amount of salt in a product
|Relatively high in salt||More than 300mg sodium per 100 grams|
|Low salt||Less than 120mg sodium per 100 grams|
|Very low salt||Less than 40mg sodium per 100 grams|
|Salt free||Less than 5mg sodium per 100 grams|
Foods with high salt content
Foods that are high in sodium should be restricted as far as possible and can be divided into certain groups
Processed meat such as polony, viennas, biltong, hamburger patties, cold meats and pork sausages should be restricted. Rather use fresh meat products so that you have control over the cooking method used as well as the flavourings for the meat
Canned fish, dried fish (“bokkoms”) and smoked fish should be restricted. Rather consume fresh or frozen fish products.
Salty spreads such as meat and vegetable extracts (Bovril & Marmite), fish paste, liver spread, paté, or cheese spreads are all high in salt and should be restricted. Try to rather use an artificially sweetened jam or low fat cottage cheese as a spread.
There are certain Cheeses that are high in salt such as Blaauwkrantz, Roquefort, Parmesan and feta. Rather switch to cheddar, gouda, mozzarella, ricotta and brie. These cheeses should still only be consumed in small amounts.
Salty snacks such as chips, salty biscuits, salted nuts, salted popcorn, olives or pickles should be limited. Rather use provitas, whole wheat crackers, unsalted nuts, or popcorn (preferably homemade so that there is control over the amount of salt added) or fresh fruit.
Renal Smart nutritional information system. Low Salt Diet. (US).