The National Health Service recommends that the average adult should not consume more than 6g (one teaspoon) of salt a day. Exceeding this limit could raise your blood pressure, which increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, the regulator warns. This is particularly dangerous because high blood pressure hardly presents any symptoms, thus the nickname ‘the silent killer’.
Where is the salt?
When you cast your mind back to all the things you ate in the last 24 hours, you will realize that there’s salt in almost every one of them. So how can you tell how much salt you are consuming?
Some people try to reduce the amount of salt they add to their food, but according toCleveland Clinic, table salt constitutes less than 30 per cent of the salt you eat.
It does help to avoid adding salt to your food at the table, but unfortunately, a major part of the sodium in American diets — more than 70% — comes from processed and packaged foods. These foods can be high in sodium even if they don’t taste salty.
Hidden sauces of salt
It is well established that processed foods tend to contain high volume of sodium to preserve them longer. However, the NHS explains that other foods such as bread and breakfast cereals contribute a lot of salt to our diet not because they are always high in salt, but due to how much of them we tend to eat.
Some foods to be aware of include:
- Frozen meals, deli meat
- Canned or pickled foods.
- Snack foods, cheese
- Condiments, sauces and dressings.
Hypertension specialist George Thomas, MD recommends checking the label of processed foods to gauge the amount of salt they contain.
The amount of sodium listed on the ingredient label references a particular serving size. If you eat more than the listed serving size, you’ll consume more sodium.