Salt is so abundant in our diets, from breads to soups to sauces and even biscuits.  Sodium is a necessary electrolyte in the body.  Sodium is one of the three main electrolytes along with potassium, and chloride.  Electrolytes are necessary for maintain heart rate and maintaining fluid balance. We require a minimum of 1.5 grams with an average of 4 grams. No more than 6 grams of salt should be consumed HOWEVER, most people are consuming between 9-12 grams on a daily basis.

Too much salt= major health problems. It can lead to water rendition, increase asthma and bone thinning, increases the blood pressure as well as the risk for heart disease, stroke, and renal disease.   

Surprisingly most of the salt hidden in foods (roughly 70 %!)  and not what we add to our food. Food label claims have specific rules to follow. One of the biggest food labels nutrients that confuse people is the about of sodium & what it means. Most of our salt intake is hidden in the foods we buy at the supermarket.

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Here is a guide to recognise the salt content of your food:

– Sodium-free: Less than 5 milligrams of sodium per serving
– Very low-sodium: 35 milligrams or less per serving
– Low-sodium: Less than 140 milligrams per serving
– Reduced sodium: Sodium level reduced by 25% (compared to the original product)
– Unsalted, no salt added, or without added salt: Made without the salt that’s normally used, but still contains the sodium that’s a -natural part of the food itself.

Low salt foods_2

Here are some low salt foods you can eat at any meal

Fruit & Vegetables

Fresh fruit & vegetables are naturally low in salt and can be eaten at any meal, Frozen fruit & vegetable without any sauce will also be low in salt

Particularly: apple, lemon, cucumber, eggplant, strawberries, plums, mango and asparagus

Beware the tinned fruit & vegetables that will be loaded with salt.

Herbs & Spices

Fresh herbs & spices are not only low in salt but have many nutritional benefits such as being anti-inflammatory, stimulating metabolism & promoting digestion

Particularly: garlic, pepper, basil, chilli, ginger and turmeric

Beware packaged herbs and spices – always check to make sure the first ingredient listed isn’t salt

Raw Nuts & Seeds

Emphasis is on the raw with nuts & seeds which are packed full of protein & essential fatty acids

Particularly: almonds, pepitas, sunflower seeds, cashew nuts & Brazil nuts

Avoid salted nuts & seeds

Fresh Meat & Seafood 

Lean meat, fish, poultry are naturally low in salt

Particularly: eggs, chicken and beef

Avoid smoked, cured, heavily processed items

Legumes

High in protein and nutrients unprocessed legumes are an ideal addition to daily intake.

Particularly navy beans, black beans, kidney beans and peas.

Avoid tinned & processed legumes.

Be sure to focus on fresh produce, whole foods & avoid pacakged foods as much as possible

Here are some tips to reducing salt in your diet

– Increase potassium foods i.e.: avocado and kiwi fruit.
– Choose fresh whole fruits and vegetables.
– Choose frozen or canned food items without added salts.
– Select unsalted nuts or seeds.
– Avoid adding salt and canned vegetables with added sodium to homemade dishes.
– Choose unsalted, lower-sodium, fat-free items.
– Add fresh lemon juice instead of salt to fish and vegetables.

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