Resolution No. 3

In continuation of our Twelve resolutions today we will share Resolution No. 3.

                   3. I will reduce salt intake ( half quantity ) from my food.

Our bodies need a little bit of salt to survive, but the amount we eat is far more than we require. Salt puts up our Blood Pressure (BP), Raised Blood Pressure (hypertension) is the major factor in strokes, heart failure and heart attacks, a major cause of death and disability worldwide.  There is also increasing evidence of a link between our current high salt intake and stomach cancer, osteoporosis, obesity, kidney stones and kidney disease.

Supportive evidence on the adverse effects of excess sodium intake on BP comes from animal studies, migration studies, ecologic studies, longitudinal observational studies, clinical trials, and meta-analyses of trials. The best available evidence strongly supports a direct relationship between sodium intake and elevated BP – on an average, as sodium intake increases, so does BP.

Most people eat too much salt without even realizing it. This is because up to 80% of the salt we eat is already in the food we buy, including bread, cereal and cakes. In the majority of countries around the world, only a small amount of salt is added at the table or during preparation.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that we eat not more than 5g of salt a day, which is about a teaspoon.  Foods don’t necessarily have to taste salty to be salty.

We acquire a taste for salt and, over time, get used to a certain amount in our diets. If you cut back drastically and suddenly, you may at first find that your food tastes bland. However, flavor doesn’t only come from salt. Fresh and dried herbs, spices, black pepper, chili and lemon are all great ways to add flavor. So while you reduce the amount of salt you eat, substitute it with these other flavor enhancers and you won’t notice the loss as much. It only takes 3 weeks for our taste buds to adapt and become more sensitive to salt, so you get the same flavor impact from less salt.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that fancier types of salt are better for you. Whether it’s pink, black, rock, crystal or flakes, they still have the same effect on your blood pressure as standard table salt. Although less refined salts might contain more nutrients than everyday table salt, these will probably only be in very small amounts and can be sourced from other foods in your diet.

       Why Salt is bad for your health :

  1. Blood Pressure
  2. Stroke
  3. Coronary Heart Disease
  4. Stomach Cancer
  5. Osteoporosis
  6. Obesity
  7. Kidney Stones and Kidney Diseases
  8. Vascular Dementia
  9. Water Retention
  10. Asthma
  11. Meniere’s Disease
  12. Diabetes
Click here for How to reduce your intake of salt
  • Cook from scratch so you know exactly what’s in your food.
  • When you do opt for packaged foods, choose products that are sodium free or low in sodium.
  • At restaurants, ask your server which foods are prepared without added salt—and order those items.
  • In the kitchen and at the dinner table, substitute spices, herbs, and salt-free blends for salt.
  • Avoid instant foods such as pasta, rice, and cereals, which usually contain salt.
  • Rinse canned foods to wash off some of the salt.
  • Check labels for sodium in all its forms.
  • When buying frozen vegetables, choose those that are labeled “fresh frozen” and do not contain added seasoning or sauces.
  • Compare various brands of the same food item until you find the one that has the lowest sodium content.
  • Skip fried foods and Fast Foods.
  • Discover reduced or non-sodium alternatives.
  • Select spices or seasonings that do not list sodium on their labels.
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.

Other strategies to reduce Sodium intake are Public education, Dietary counseling, Food labeling, Track your Sodium intake, Co-ordinated voluntary reduction within family and support from doctors towards their patients.

Train your taste buds since salt preference is an acquired taste that can be unlearned. It takes about 4 weeks to get used to eating food with much lower quantities of salt, but once it’s done, it’s actually difficult to eat foods like potato chips because they taste way too salty.

Always remember to keep an eye on your portion sizes. Eat smaller portions of salty foods.

Column 1 : Indicates that a product contains high amounts of this nutrient, so enjoy this choice once in a while, or as a treat.

Column 2 : Indicates that a product contains medium amounts of this nutrient, so it’s an OK choice most of the time.

Column 3 : Indicates that a product contains low amounts of this nutrient. The more of this, the healthier the choice.

            Column 1             Column 2            Column 3
Limit these foods Check the label Low salt options
  High in salt and/or saturated fat Contains some salt / saturated fat Lower in salt and /or saturated fat
  Eat only occasionally or as a treat Choose lower salt option Choose these foods
  Bread, cereals and Starchy Foods Bread, cereals and Starchy Foods Bread, cereals and Starchy Foods
Sandwiches filled with cheese and / or processed meat pizzas pot noodles and instant noodles Most breakfast cereals like corn flakes, puffed rice, bran flakes, muesli and wheat biscuits, most sandwiches, processed pasta and bread Some breakfast cereals like shredded wheat, porridge oats, and museli without salt, Grains, pasta potatoes and plantain
Eggs & dairy Eggs & dairy Eggs & dairy
Whole milk, cream, soured cream, coconut cream.milk, most cheese, processed cheese and quiches Semi skimmed milk, soya milk including flavored and soya cream yogurt and low fat cream fraiche, Cottage cheese and low fat cream cheese, Mozzarella eggs 1% fat milk, skimmed milk, Light soya milk and light soya cream, Low fat/fat free yogurt, soya yogurt
Fats and Oils Fats and Oils Fats and Oils
Some fats like Butter and Ghee, Pastry and Some oils like palm, coconut          Low Fat Spreads Some oils like Olive, Rapeseed, Canola, Peanut, Groundnut, Sunflower, Sesame and Corn Oils
Meat, Fish & Vegetarian Alternatives Meat, Fish & Vegetarian Alternatives Meat, Fish & Vegetarian Alternatives
Processed Meat like pate, ham, Corned Beef, Burgers, Sausages, Meat pies and sausage rolls, Smoked fish like Prawns & sheelfish, Meat free sausages rolls, Pies, Bacon Breaded Poultry, Extra lean mince, Meat-based soup and ready meals, Fish Cakes, Fish in batter or crumbs/sauce, Vegetarian Sausages and Burgers, Meat free ready meals;Quorn Fresh, lean meat and white and oily fish, Tinned fish in water, Soya mince and Tofu
Fruits & Vegetables Fruits & Vegetables Fruits & Vegetables
Vegetable Pies, Some pre-prepared vegetable dishes Pickled vegetables, Processed Potatoes:Croquettes, Waffles and oven chips, Baked Beans, Prepared salads, Vegetable Soups and ready meals Fresh frozen and dried fruits, Vegetables and Pulses, Tinned fruits and vegetables with no added salt
Desserts and Sweet Snacks Desserts and Sweet Snacks Desserts and Sweet Snacks
Cakes, Cheese cakes and Ice cream, Most pastry or Cream based Desserts, Hot Chocolate made with Milk or Ice Cream, Confectionery like Fudge, Toffee, Sweets, Sweet Biscuits Fruit Buns, Frozen Yogurt, Fruit crumble, Jelly, Fruit Triffle, Diet Desserts, Sweet Biscuits, rich Tea, Reduced fat biscuits Cereal Bars, Breakfast Pots ( Yogurt based ) Sugar free jelly, Low fat Yogurt, Rice Pudding, Fruits and Fruit salad, Dried Fruits and Ready prepared fruit snacks
Savory Snacks Savory Snacks Savory Snacks
Salted popcorn, Crisps and salted or roasted nuts, Sour Cream-and Mayonnaise-based dips and cheese dips, Cheese flavored biscuits, Olives, Sun dried tomatoes Flavored bread sticks and low salt crisps, Crisp breads, oatcakes and Flavored rice cakes, Savory crackers and biscuits, Most vegetable- pulse- based dips – Hummus and guacamole Unsalted popcorn, Rice cakes, plain bread sticks, Unsalted nuts and seeds ( in moderation ), No added salt crisps and Salsa dips
Sauces and Seasonings Sauces and Seasonings Sauces and Seasonings
All types of salt, Stock Cubes, Spreads- Marmite, Chocolate, Peanut butter; Table sauces- Soy, Ketchup, Mayonnaise, salad Cream and Mustard; Curry Pasta, Pesto Low Salt Stock Cubes, Gravy Pasta and Curry Sauces, Packet Sauces- Bread, Cheese and onion; Chutneys and Pickle Vinegar, Lemon Juice and wine, Herbs and Spices, Tomato puree apple, Cranberry and Mint sauce

Get into the habit of comparing similar products and choose those with more Column 2 and Column 3 and fewer Column 1 for a healthier diet.


Portion and Serving Sizes

Where portion sizes are given, see if it is how much you are actually eating.  E.g if a portion is stated as half of a product (e.g. pizza), but you eat the whole product, you will need to multiply the provided salt content by 2.

      Practical Tips :-

  • Cook at home.You can control how much salt you use when you cook and eat meals at home.
  • Shop smart.Buy lower sodium version of packaged goods.
  • Eat more fresh whole foods.Eating more vegetables, fruits and other nutritious foods prepared from scratch will provide more nutrients, such as potassium which is beneficial to your blood pressure.
  • Explore other seasonings.Salt isn’t your only option. You can brighten flavors with freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice, and create a pop on your palate with balsamic or wine vinegars. Or add some heat with fresh hot peppers or red pepper flakes.
  • Choose unprocessed or minimally processed foods. Canned, processed, and frozen foods are often loaded with added salt.
  • Read labels and choose lower-sodium products. When you do buy processed foods, choose items where the sodium content is less than or equal to the calories per serving.
  • Know where hidden sodium lurks. Some of the highest-sodium foods that are common in our diet includes : Pizza, white bread, processed cheese, hot dogs, spaghetti with sauce, ham, ketchup, cooked rice, and flour tortillas. Make these items a small part of your diet.
  • When eating out, keep an eye on salt content. Some chain and fast-food restaurant items can top 5 to 6 grams of sodium per serving — about four times the healthy daily limit. Downsize your portions by skipping the super-size or sharing a dish, or try to find the lower-sodium choices (many franchises have nutritional information on their websites). When eating out, ask that your dish be prepared with less salt.
  • Use your sodium “budget” wisely. Rather than spending your sodium allowance on salty snacks and heavily processed foods, use small amounts of salt to enhance the flavor of produce, whole grains, nuts and legumes, and other healthy ingredients.
  • Train your taste buds. One study found that people enjoy lower-sodium foods almost as much as food with the common sodium overload. It is possible to shift your sense of taste to enjoy foods made with less sodium.
  • Don’t be too concerned about the exact amount of salt you eat. The aim is to reduce the amount of salt you eat as much as possible, not to keep an exact tally of the amount you eat. (5 gms of salt a day is the maximum you should eat, and the less you eat the better.)
  • The best approach is to try to always eat  foods with the lowest salt level.
  • At first, food without salt can taste bland, but don’t give up. It’s just the same as giving up sugar in tea. After a few weeks your taste buds will adjust and you will start to enjoy food with less salt. In fact, you’ll wonder how you ever ate food that was so salty!

Seven Salty Myths :-

Myth #1 – Eliminate sodium completely for good health : Sodium is an essential nutrient that controls Blood pressure and is needed to make nerves and muscles work properly, but you need the right amount.

Myth #2 – Sea salt has less sodium than table salt : Sea salt is possibly more popular, but it usually isn’t any less salty. Just like table salt, it typically contains 40% sodium.

Myth #3 – I usually don’t salt my food, so I don’t eat too much sodium : Approximately  about 75% of sodium is estimated to come from processed food – not the salt shaker.

Myth #4 – High levels of sodium are found only in food : Some over-the-counter medications contain high level of sodium. Carefully read drug labels.

Myth #5 – Lower sodium foods have no taste : There is a rich world of creative and flavorful alternatives to salt. Experiment with Spices, Herbs and Citrus to enhance the natural flavor  of your food.

Myth #6 – My Blood Pressure is normal, so I don’t need to worry about how much sodium I eat :  Researchers recommends  consuming less than 1.5 gms daily.  Even for people who don’t have high blood pressure, less sodium will significantly blunt the rise in blood pressure that occurs as we age and will also reduce the risk developing other conditions, Kidney diseases, associated with eating too much sodium.

Myth #7 – I don’t eat a lot of salty food so I don’t  eat too much sodium : Foods like Bread, Cheese, Poultry, Etc., can have excess sodium that can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.