Eating excess salt creates health problems. A diet high in salt can cause raised blood pressure which in turn increases the risk of heart diseases. Then, how can we cut down or manage salt intake for each day? Read this.
Different Salt Intake Levels For Different Ages
Salt (composed of two minerals sodium and chloride) has various functions in the body such as fluid balance, nerve transmission and muscle function. It is used to improve flavour of foods and some amount of salt is naturally found in most foods.
Depending on the age, the intake of salt for each day varies. See the below table.
Avoid feeding babies the processed and packaged foods that are high in salt as their kidneys aren't fully developed. Babies get the minerals such as sodium and chloride through breastfeeding.
Check Salt On Labels
Keep an eye on the salt content in the foods you consume daily. Nutrition labels on food packaging now make this a lot easier. We see reference intakes (RI) referred to on food labels. RIs tell us the maximum amount of calories and nutrients we should eat in a day. For example, RI of salt for adults should be less than 6g.
Salt or Sodium? Some food labels only state the sodium content. In such cases, follow the principle - multiplying the sodium amount by 2.5 to know the salt content in the food item.
For example, 2g of sodium per 100g equals to 5g (2*2.5) of salt per 100g.
Try the food scanner apps to know how much salt is inside your food just by scanning the barcode on food labels. After comparing the nutrition labels of two brands, cut down on salt by choosing the one that is lower in salt.
The red, amber and green colour coding on the front of food packs helps us to find whether a food is high (red), medium (amber) or low (green) in salt. Aim to eat mainly foods that are green or amber.
Cut Down High-Salt Foods
The foods high in salt add a lot of salt to your diet. Realise the fact that they increase our salt consumption as we eat a lot of them. So, cut down on salt intake by eating the high-salt foods less often.
For example, the foods high in salt are cured and processed meat (sausages, bacon), packet and canned soups, sauces and salty savoury snacks (crisps, instant noodles).
Prevention is better than cure. Before you fall ill due to consuming the foods rich in high-salt, know your ideal salt intake for a day and so reduce the intake of salt.
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