Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
9:49 AM 3rd April 2024

Healthy Heart Tip: Reducing Your Salt Consumption

Heart Research UK Healthy Heart Tip, written by the Health Promotion and Education Team at Heart Research UK

Consuming too much salt can lead to high blood pressure, a major risk factor for developing heart diseases. Salt is a source of sodium which is essential for a healthy body and diet. However, when we consume too much it can have a negative effect on our cardiovascular system and kidneys. Did you know that one tablespoon of soy sauce contains almost 3g of salt? The NHS recommends no more than 6g of salt a day, this is around one level teaspoon. This includes salt that is already in our foods, plus any that’s added during or after cooking.

Here are some tips to help you reduce your salt consumption.

Reduce processed food consumption

Processed, ultra-processed foods and packaged foods are often responsible for much of the salt you eat. Eating a diet based on fresh foods, fruits and vegetables will help to reduce your salt intake and improve your heart health.

Processed foods are those that undergo any deliberate changes before being sold, for example, washing, cutting, canning, freezing or adding preservatives. Whereas ultra-processed foods, undergo extensive processing and end up looking nothing like their original state. They often have additives, artificial flavours and colours, sweeteners and preservatives added to them.

Always check your food labels when purchasing packaged foods. Green and amber on the traffic light system labels are healthier as they tend to be lower in salt. Try to avoid labels with red on them where you can.

If possible, try and make the foods from scratch, this way you know exactly what’s going into it. It may help to batch cook and freeze some of the meals for convenience.

Choose lower-salt alternatives

Try low, reduced salt or sodium versions of foods and sauces. These are often available for soy sauces, jars of sauce and stock. If possible, buy tinned vegetables, pulses or fish in water instead of brine, this will reduce your salt consumption further.

For a food to be classified as low in salt, it needs to have 0.3g salt or less per 100g. Between 0.3g and 1.5g of salt is classed as medium salt content, whilst 1.5g salt or more per 100g is seen as high salt content.

Don’t add salt to your food

Herbs and spices such as parsley, oregano and chilli powder are a great alternative to use than salt. You could try adding lemon, garlic and wholegrain mustard for extra flavours in your cooking too. Experiment with your flavours and enjoy your cooking.

Heart Research UK
Proud to stand out from the crowd, Heart Research UK is the charity dedicated to your heart. They inspire and invest in pioneering medical research, ground-breaking training and education, and in communities to improve their heart health for themselves. For over 50 years they have driven advancements in the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease to benefit patients as soon as possible.