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Are you consuming too much salt?

Are you consuming too much salt?

With Salt Awareness Week (16-22 March) rapidly approaching, it’s time to think about the amount of salt you are consuming and if it’s a healthy dose or not.

Salt is critical to your life. The everyday ingredient, which is made up of 40 percent sodium and 60 percent chloride; helps maintain your blood’s water content, serves to balance the acids and bases in your blood, and is necessary for muscle movement. Yet, consuming too much salt raises your blood pressure and puts you at higher risk of heart disease and stroke.

The recommendation for sodium in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as the American Heart Association is 2,400 milligrams (mg) daily for adults. This is about the amount in one teaspoon of salt (2,300 mg to be exact).

Here are a few simple tips to take into consideration when cooking that will aid in reducing your salt consumption:

1. Fresh instead of processed

By making your own sauces and soups, and also simmering your own beans until they are ready instead of opening a can is time consuming but will drastically reduce your salt intake.

2. Choose convenience food wisely

When purchasing quick and easy foods, choose frozen instead of canned. Also, rinse these foods before consuming – this will help to remove the excess salt.

3. Don’t add extra salt

Avoid adding salt when boiling pasta or rice and rather add to the final dish or just before serving.

4. Measure

Always measure the amount of salt you are adding to your cooking; this will allow you to keep track of your daily intake.

5. Cheat your palate

Acidic ingredients, such as lemon, brings out the ‘savouriness’ of other ingredients, thus replacing the need to add extra salt. Herbs could also ease the transition of your newly found lower salt cooking style.

6. Boost vegetable flavours, naturally

We tend to load vegetables with salt when cooking them to avoid the bitter flavor. Instead of adding excess salt, opt for grilling or roasting your vegetables to bring out their natural sweetness.

Combining the above-mentioned tips with your daily exercise routine will leave you feeling healthier and happier.

To read more about salt and Salt Awareness Week (16-22 March), click here: http://www.smasa.cc/dont-take-world-salt-awareness-week-with-a-pinch-of-salt-cautions-smasa/