importance of salt

The importance of salt

Salt…stick to 6 !!!

Salt is needed in your diet so that the body can acquire sodium. Sodium is necessary for many functions in the body, the most important one being it allows for a constant control of water. However, it is also needed so that:

  • Nerve impulses can be passed around the body
  • Muscles can contract
  • Blood can maintain a neutral pH

How much salt do we need?

Too much salt can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, it is extremely important to lower salt intake to reduce your risk of these diseases.

Adults are advised to have no more than 6 grams of salt per day. You might be surprised to know that this equals to only one level teaspoon.

However, adults are having more than this by consuming a whopping 9 grams of salt per day!

Did you know…

  • Around 75% of salt we eat has already been added to foods before we buy it.
  • 25% of salt we eat is added by ourselves when cooking or at the table.

Hints and tips to reduce salt

Read nutrition labels – check salt content of foods and choose low salt versions where possible. Nutrition labels on food packaging are helpful tools to help you see how much salt is in a food product and how much you are eating.

Add less salt – during cooking and at the table. Reduce the amount you use each day, you will soon get used to the taste of food without salt.

Cut out salt from recipes where possible.

Healthy Swaps

Pizza – Swap salty toppings such as pepperoni and bacon for vegetables and chicken

Pasta – Swap sauces made with bacon and cheese for tomato or vegetable sauces

Sandwiches – swap fillings such as cheese and ham for chicken and salad

Potato chips – swap potato chips with homemade veggie chips such as kale or carrot chips

Salt – swap with herbs and spices. By using herbs and spices to flavour food instead of salt is an easy and tasty way to cut down on the amount of salt you use.

Some popular herbs include; basil, dill, coriander, rosemary, parsley, sage, chives, mint, oregano and thyme. Other popular spices include; chillies, cumin, paprika, saffron, ginger, cinnamon and fennel.

These can be used to flavour meats, vegetables and pasta.

Chrystalla Katelari

Clinical Dietitian – Nutritionist, MSc