According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa, 80% of heart-related diseases (high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack) can be prevented through dietary changes. One of these recommended changes is a reduction in the intake of salt.
DIETARY GUIDELINES TO REDUCE YOUR SALT INTAKE
- Use salt sparingly during food preparation.
- Avoid the use of extra salt at the table.
- Use herbs and spices instead of salt (see salt alternatives below).
- Avoid the use of stock cubes, soup powder and gravy powder.
- Spreads such as Marmite, Bovril, Oxo, cheese spread, fishpaste and peanut butter are high in salt and should be used in small amounts.
- Avoid processed foods such as vienna’s, patty’s, russians, salami, bacon.
- Avoid the intake of salty snacks such as potato chips, salty biscuits, biltong, dried sausage, salted nuts and salted popcorn.
- Avoid the intake of smoked or dried fish. Fresh fish or canned fish in brine or tomato sauce should be used.
- Avoid the intake of processed cheese. Restrict your intake of hard cheese (cheddar, gouda) to 30g (a small matchbox size) 3 times a week.
Flavouring food with different herbs, vegetables and salt-free spices is a great way to reduce the total amount of salt added to a meal.
Try these alternatives: Fresh herbs (rosemary, basil, parsley, chives, thyme, oregano, mint), pepper, curry, vinegar, onions, garlic, ginger, tomato, lemon juice, cinnamon, chilli, Robertson’s green, orange or red containers.
READING FOOD LABELS
Being aware of the salt content of our favourite foods is essential. Check food labels and avoid foods that are high in salt (sodium):
|High in salt||More than 600mg sodium per 100g|
|Medium salt||Between 120-600mg sodium per 100g|
|Low salt||Less than 120mg sodium per 100g|
|Very low salt||Less than 40mg sodium per 100g|
|Salt free||Less than 5mg sodium per 100g|
Want to reduce your intake of salt but unsure how to do so practically? Try these tips:
- Swap salty snacks for low-salt/salt-free alternatives. Replace biltong, salted nuts and chips with unsalted nuts, home-made popcorn (with little or no added salt) and fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Thicken stews and soups with flour or oats instead of soup powder or gravy powder.
- Make your own stock. Commercially made stock cubes are loaded with salt so rather make your own at home and control the amount of salt added. Add flavour to the stock by adding fresh herbs, onions, celery and carrots.
- Rinse canned foods. Many canned products are in brine which could contain added salt. Rinse beans, lentils and other canned vegetables in water before using them or buy canned foods in tomato sauce.