Spring time de-salting!
Strokes are the third biggest killer in the UK and salt is the major factor that raises blood pressure and high blood pressure is a big risk factor for a stroke - responsible for 62% of strokes.
Reducing average salt intake by just 1g/day can prevent at least 2,600 deaths from stroke every year.
High intakes of salt can also lead to an increased risk of heart disease and a high salt diet is also linked to osteoporosis, kidney disease and stomach cancer.
So now you know all that, it is the perfect time to spring clean your diet and get your taste buds accustomed to a heart-healthier reduced salt diet. Here are a few simple tips to help you lower your salt intake:
- About three quarters of the salt we eat is hidden in food, so get into the habit of checking food labels when shopping to spot foods with the lowest salt content. The traffic light labelling is particularly helpful: green means ‘low’ so choose foods that have a green flag for salt content (i.e. contain 0.3g salt/100g or less).
- Avoid buying processed foods which are usually high in salt; instead, cook meals from fresh so you know exactly what is in your meals. Your food needn’t taste bland; there are plenty of herbs and spices to tickle your taste buds instead of salt.
- When eating out, steer away from rich sauces and gravy, select plain meat or fish with steamed vegetables instead to curb your salt intake. And avoid smoked or preserved foods such as ham, bacon, sausage and smoked fish as these are often high in salt. Don’t be afraid to ask the chef to add little or no salt to your food.
Cutting salt out of your diet doesn’t have to be a chore. Be imaginative with your food and take the extra pressure off your arteries by creating some heart-healthy meals using a variety of tasty non-salt alternatives to add flavour.