In this section:
> Stress management
> Technology and stress relief
> Less salt
> Lower cholesterol
> Healthy Snacks
> Coping with guilt
> Be more assertive
> Boost your immune system
> Tempt your elderly or frail relatives outdoors
> Avoiding back pain
> Getting the most from your GP
> Advice on prescribed drugs
> Difficult conversations
> Moving the person you care for
> Relaxation tips
> Laughter therapy
Lead Dietitian, Bupa Cromwell Hospital
Even if you don’t add salt to your food, you may still be eating more than the recommended daily limit without even realising it.
In fact, most of the salt you eat is hidden in processed, takeaway and restaurant foods. It’s even found in foods where you might not expect to find it, such as cakes and biscuits.
Salt is made up of sodium and chloride, which are both essential for certain processes within your body; sodium is essential for your nerves to work properly and your muscles to contract, while chloride helps you digest food. Both sodium and chloride help keep the fluid levels in your body balanced. However, if you consume too much salt, you’re more at
risk of developing high blood pressure, which means you’re more likely to develop several major illnesses later on in life, such as heart disease and stroke.
You should aim to eat no more than 5 to 6g of salt a day – this is around one teaspoon.
Ways to cut down
The label will state how much salt is in the product per 100g. Anything with over 1.5g is high in salt, so either avoid these foods or only have them now and then. Foods with 0.3g or less per 100g are generally a healthy choice. Salt content can vary a lot across different brands, so compare labels. If the food label doesn’t say how much salt is in the product, you can work it out by multiplying the sodium content by 2.5.
Examples include soy sauce, bacon, salami and cheese, and try not to add too much extra salt to your food.
Takeaway food is often very high in salt so only have them occasionally.
Try your food before adding any salt to it - it might already be tasty enough!
Many people have developed a preference for salty foods due to years of eating manufactured foods with a high salt content. It might be hard at first to cut back and you may not enjoy the taste as much initially, but if you reduce the amount of salt you use
gradually, you will quickly get used it and will soon start to enjoy the taste of your food more.
Do you have any techniques for lowering your salt intake? Post in the comments section below.
Fancy free veg deliveries for a month? Post your healthy recipe in the healthy recipe discussion.
Produced in collaboration with Bupa’s Health
Information Team, July 2012
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