Going against the grain - how to reduce the salt in your diet

Nutrition Team

It’s hard to imagine how a scattering of tiny white grains could be harmful. However, most of you will know that eating too much salt can contribute to high blood pressure. This, in turn, can cause serious health problems such as heart disease, kidney disease and strokes.

One recent study showed that the combination of a high salt intake as well as being overweight was a particularly strong risk factor for heart disease. Therefore, reducing your weight as well as your salt intake could really make a difference to your health.

On average, people in this country eat around 9 grams (2 teaspoons) of salt (sodium chloride) a day. We all need some salt but should try not to eat more than 6 grams per day. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done since most of the salt in our diet is not added at the table but ‘hidden’ or already added by the food manufacturers. Be careful to read the nutritional information on food labels before you buy. Here are a few tips to help you out:

· Use less salt in cooking.

· Try to get out of the habit of adding salt to food at the table. Use an alternative ‘low sodium’ product. These are usually based on potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride.

· Flavour foods with lemon juice, herbs, spices or vinegar instead of salt.

· Cut down on salty snack foods like crisps and salted peanuts.

· Buy tinned vegetables marked ‘no added salt’.

· Cut down on salted meats like bacon and ham.

· Stock cubes are very salty. Try making your own stock instead.

· Watch sauces, especially soy sauce and foods containing monosodium glutamate.

· Use fewer tinned and packet soups. Try making homemade soup instead.

· Many other ready prepared savoury dishes can be very salty. Look at the label to find those with less added salt.

Salt contents of food

Grilled bacon per slice 1.2 grams

Crisps 30 gram bag 0.8 grams

Dry Roasted Peanuts 40 gram 0.8 grams

Cornflakes 50 grams 1.4 grams

Bread 1 slice 0.9 grams

Baked Beans 1 small tin 3.0 grams

Tinned vegetable soup medium bowl 1.2 grams

Start a diet plan at tescodiets.com

Thanks to tescodiets.com who have provided this article.