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SALT 101 14 September 2018

 

What is salt?

Salt is a chemical compound which is comprised of sodium and chloride. It is important for us to consume salt as it helps maintain the correct volume of circulating blood and tissue fluids in our body1. Luckily for us, salt is part of everyday life as it’s found in many of the foods that we eat. However, too much salt can lead to health problems. In fact, the health issues which arise from excess salt consumption is due to the sodium found in salt. 

Impact of Sodium

Sodium is found naturally across a variety of food. Fruits and vegetables contain a very small amount of sodium whereas processed foods such as breads and processed meats have high levels of sodium2. It is an essential mineral for the human body as it assists with normal cell function and provides acid-base balance. However, consuming too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure. 

Impact of sodium on health

Excess sodium levels in your diet leads to high blood pressure which is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) such as a heart attack or stroke. CVDs are the leading cause of death around the world with an estimated 17.7 million people dying from CVDs each year3. By reducing our sodium intake, we would be reducing our blood pressure levels and hence lowering the risk of CVDs.

Reducing salt intake

With salt being found across a variety of food, it can be difficult to reduce. On average, we are consuming about 9-12 grams of salt each day. The recommended amount is less than 5 grams (less than one teaspoon) according to the World Health Organisation4. Millions of deaths could be prevented each year if we reduced our salt consumption levels to the recommended amount.

To reduce the amount of salt intake, there’s a few different things that you could try. Products such as NBI’s Heart Salt contains 56% less sodium than other regular salts but provides the great taste of salt. Using herbs and spices instead of salt is another option. Finally, you can aim to eat less salts, sugar and fats (it’s important to look at sodium levels on food labels to get this right).

Impact of reduced salt on food taste

To answer the question you’re probably thinking of right now – yes, reduced salt will change the taste of the food you eat. This can be a difficult change to make as your taste buds have become accustomed to the taste of food you consume. The ideal option would be to find a healthy version of salt which doesn’t hurt the taste of food. Sounds impossible but this is where Heart Salt fits in. If you want to eat healthy without losing the flavour in life, then Heart Salt is your best bet.  

 

  1. Better Health Channel 2018, Salt, Melbourne, https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/salt
  2. National Heart Foundation of Australia, Questions about salthttps://www.heartfoundation.org.au/healthy-eating/food-and-nutrition/salt/questions-about-salt
  3. World Health Organization 2017, World Heart Day 2017, Geneva, http://www.who.int/cardiovascular_diseases/world-heart-day-2017/en/
  4. World Health Organization 2016, Salt Reduction, Geneva, http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/salt-reduction