Adding Salt to the Wound
How much Sodium (salt) you consume in your meals isn't usually a topic of conversation that comes up every day when talking about a healthy and balanced diet, but did you know that consuming increased levels of Sodium can cause major health risks to the human body?
Nutrition Australia has stated the current recommended Sodium intake for Australian adults as 1600mg, yet the average Australian consumes around 3000mg+ per day, almost double the recommended intake!
In addition, The National Health and Medical Research Council has set the 'upper limit' of sodium intake to be 2300mg per day, still well under the average daily intake. Consuming excess sodium can result in health problems such as high blood pressure and stroke, leading to further harmful, if not fatal complications, if not addressed.
The problem with trying to reduce sodium intake is that it is found in practically everything. Chefs will regularly use salt to add flavour to food in restaurants as most humans have a salt-adapted palate, meaning that we find foods low in salt to be bland and plain whilst we find foods high in salt to be flavoursome. Processed foods are also generally high in salt in order to increase shelf life and flavour.
So what foods are low in salt?
Every fresh food-plant or animal-is low in salt, with rare exceptions (mainly some shellfish). Throughout hundreds of thousands of years of human evolution, the diet of our ancestors consisted largely of fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts, together with lean fresh meat and/or fish (and no added salt). This 'natural' diet is believed by many nutritionists to be the most health-promoting diet of all
Ways to reduce salt intake include:
- Snack on fruit or nuts
- Base your meals around consuming as many vegetables as possible
- Use herbs and spices instead of salt for added flavour to dishes
- Dress salads with olive oil or balsamic vinegar instead of salty dressings
- Avoid boiling foods as this can lose the taste of the food and entice you to add salt. Conserve flavour using methods such as steaming, roasting, baking, stir-frying, microwaving or barbecuing.
- Read the Nutrition Information Panel on processed products and select only low-salt processed foods-that is, those with a sodium content no higher than 120 mg/100 g
-Buy whole meal or whole-grain bread from small bakers or specialty bread shops that cater for particular customers. Some low-salt breads are also available in some supermarkets.
Do you know how much sodium you consume per day?
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.