The current government recommendation is to eat a maximum of 6 grams of salt a day, (about a teaspoon), and it’s estimated that on average we’re eating at least 8 grams a day. Too much salt increases your risks of high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and heart attack. Salt has also been linked to osteoporosis, stomach cancer and kidney disease.
1. Read the label! When you’re in the supermarket, compare two foods using the “per 100g” table and choose the one with less sodium. If you see traffic light labelling on a food product, opt for those foods with a green or amber light for salt and, just like when you're driving, avoid the red lights!
2. Eating out? Ask if they have any dishes that are lower in salt or if they can add less salt to your food in cooking. Use your power as a consumer to help drive change. These establishments want your business so if you want something, let them know!
3. When cooking at home, try to use herbs and spices for seasoning rather than salt. Enhance the flavours by adding condiments like mustard, lemon juice, lime juice or vinegar. And add natural flavour with onions, garlic, shallots, ginger and chillies.
4. Where you feel that only salt will do, try a reduced sodium option that delivers a salty flavour yet contains less of the harmful sodium you get in regular salt.
5. Sea salt and rock salt may be favourites with celebrity chefs, but remember they have the same amount of sodium as table salt! Ideally we should eliminate using salt altogether, or gradually use less.
6. If you buy tinned vegetables or tuna, choose those canned in water rather than brine.
7. Stock cubes, gravy, curry paste, soy sauce & mixed seasonings are usually rich in salt. Look out for lower sodium varieties.
8. Where do you think most of our salt comes from? Bread! So minimise salty fillings like cheese, salt beef and ham when you’re making a sandwich.
9. Gradually cut down on adding salt to food. You will soon find you get used to it – be patient as it could take about three weeks, but the health benefit will be worth it.
10. Avoid adding salt at the table. Out of sight is out of mind, so lose the saltcellar!
Low Salt Shopping Guide
Learning how to read labels and understanding which foods are high in salt can help you lower your salt intake while you’re eating at home and when you’re eating out. Action on Salt has produced a low salt shopping guide and label guide to help you understand how much salt is in the food you eat.