Why So Salty?

It’s time to talk about the elephant in the room.
The companion that’s always at our dinner table.
The hidden component in most of our packaged foods.

Salt.
Pink Himalayan salt.
Table salt.
Sea Salt.

At the end of the day, it’s all salt.

Why should I reduce my salt intake?

Most Australians are already having too much salt in their diet. It is also important to reduce your salt intake if you have high blood pressure and other cardiovascular-related diseases.
Reducing your salt is also important if you have renal disease.

(If you have any of these conditions please talk to your local GP or dietitian today.)

So lets look at some ways we can swap salt out of our diet and some easy food swaps.

Super Salt Swaps!

Salt is also found in a lot of packaged, canned and staple foods.
These days companies are making low salt options for food like tomato sauce, baked beans and canned soups.
Here’s a list of some of these options:

 Low Salt Options
Tomato PasteLegos Tomato Paste No added Salt  
Pasta SauceDolmio Extra Tomato, Onion & Garlic Salt Reduced Pasta Sauce
Canned soupsHeinz Big Red Salt Reduced  
Canned Beans and LegumesChickpeas, Black Beans, Lentils  – No added Salt Heinz Baked Beans No added Salt
Canned TomatoesWoolworths Italian Died Tomatoes Salt Reduced  
Tinned FishTuna or Salmon in Olive Oil or Springwater
SpreadsButter Soft Salt Reduced Spreadable Butter
Mayver’s Unsalted Peanut Butter
CrackersRyvita Original
GravyWoolworths Chicken Liquid Stock Salt Reduced  

Read the Food Label

As we mentioned, most of the added salt is from packaged and processed foods.
The best way to choose low salt options is to read the nutritional information label on the back of the food packet.

You should pick foods that have less than 400 mg per 100g of sodium.

For example, this product has 620 mg per 100g of sodium.
This product is too high in salt and would not be a good choice if you are trying to reduce your salt intake.

Spice up your life

Try cooking with some more herbs and spices to amp up the taste of your foods.

  • Try adding lemon to your fish.
  • Include garlic and rosemary on your roast potatoes.
  • Use thyme to flavour your chicken.
  • Add chilli powder to your beef mince to give it a little spice.
  • Using basil and oregano with tomato-based recipes.

Other tips and tricks

Other ways to reduce your salt intake include:

  • Aim to fill your diet with fresh whole fruits and vegetables
  • Be careful when choosing processed foods marketed as ‘reduced salt’, as there may still be high levels of salt. Always check the nutritional information label.

Take home Messages

  • Make some smart low salt swaps!
  • Aim for foods with less than 400mg per 100g of sodium in packaged foods.
  • Use herbs and spices instead of salt to flavour your food.
  • Always aim for fresh fruit and veg.

    By Emma Pearson, Accredited Practising Dietitian.

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