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Salt and heart health

Too much salt can raise your blood pressure and high blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke and heart disease.

Your body does need small amounts of salt to stay healthy – about four grams each day. At the very most, six grams - or one level teaspoon - is the limit. But research shows that most of us actually eat around nine grams of salt or more each day, more than twice the recommended amount.

To stay healthy, most of us need to cut down on the amount of salt we eat. It’s best to do it gradually so that your taste buds have a chance to get used to it. Over about six weeks, your taste buds will adjust and you’ll get used to less salty foods. Then you can start to really enjoy the natural flavours in your food!

Where does this salt come from?

  • 70%-80% of the salt we eat is from processed foods.
  • 20% is added to food during cooking or at the table.
  • ​10%-15% of the salt we eat is found naturally in food.

Easy ways to cut down on salt

  • Remove the salt cellar from your table.
  • Try different seasonings – black pepper, fresh herbs, spices, garlic or lemon juice add lots of flavour to food.
  • Keep ready-meals to a minimum.
  • Eat more lean cuts of meat and fish, like a pork chop, or chicken breast without the skin.
  • Cut down on salty meats such as bacon, gammon and ham.
  • Eat fewer processed meats like burgers, sausages, rashers or battered foods.
  • Make your own sauces - stock cubes, gravy granules and ready-made sauces are all very high in salt.
  • Avoid packet and tinned soups, instant noodles, ketchups and sauces, savoury snacks like crisps and salted nuts.

Check the label to find the lowest salt option

  • Foods are low in salt if the label says less than or equal to 0.3g salt per 100g.
  • ​Foods are high in salt if the label says greater than or equal to 1.5g salt/100g.
  • Look out for ‘no added salt’ on the label.

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