All this while you have been reading various articles on proteins, nutrients, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins etc but one very important ingredient in every household or on the dining table is the salt. Salt is used by all of us. Some eat less salt, some normal and few add in a more salt to their food.
Nowadays, with eating of junk foods, fast foods etc we all must realize that salt is present in most of processed foods, packed foods etc. High salt intake raises blood pressure and is a major health threat. Hence we should be aware of our salt intake and the foods that are hidden in.
Salt intake does not depend purely on the amount of table salt we add to our foods but it is only about 20% of sodium intake comes from the salt added and the rest is hidden in processed and animal protein foods. Nutritionists recommend that we should take not more than 6 gms of salt per day.
Although used in small amounts, excess salt can lead to various health related problems from high blood pressure, heart attacks, osteoporosis and asthma. There are various forms of salt such as rock salt, sea salt and other high salt flavor enhances like stock cubes, soya sauce which should be used in moderation or avoided.
Some of the popular foods that have hidden salt which we generally ignore to see are:
Bread, Biscuits, Soup packets, Cornflakes, Chicken nuggets, Potato Chips, Ready to eat packed foods, Pizza, Burgers, Cheese, Smoked processed and cured meats like ham, bacon, sausages etc, Salted Snacks like salted nuts, popcorns, crackers, tortillas etc, Salad dressings and Sauces like Tomato sauces, tomato ketchup, Chilli sauce, Soya sauce, Worcestershire sauce, barbeque sauce and Pickles like mango, lime, amla, gherkins etc which really has a high salt content.
Hence the best way to avoid extra salt intake is to switch over to more fresh foods such as fruits, vegetables, fish, chicken and lean meat which are high in potassium and help lower blood pressure. Check the labels of the packed foods and always read the sodium content before buying the product. You could also check and convert sodium to salt you need to multiply the amount of sodium by 2.5, i.e.: one gram of sodium per 100g equals 2.5 grams of salt per 100g.
Tips to control your salt intake: Firstly prepare fresh homemade meals with the right amount of salt or even if you can slightly reduce it, is always a plus point. Never eat more than a single serving portion. You are a foodie lover and love eating outside foods than make a habit of checking the labels of ready-made meals. Get rid of the habit of using the salt shaker or salty flavour enhancers on the dining table.
Avoid eating high salt foods and opt for low salt food products. Go in for healthier snacks like fresh fruits or unsalted nuts to beat your hunger. Finally remember that salt does add flavour and enhances the flavour of the dish but too much salt however will overtake the dish and even make it inedible, hence add in moderation or right amount to suit your taste.
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