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Train your tastebuds to enjoy less salt

10 July 2018

Nutrition and dietetics
We seem to be in the midst of a war against sugar, with so many dietitians, writers, celebrities and politicians joining the fight. But what about salt? Is it still bad for us? And are all salts - Himalayan pink salt, flavoured salt, truffle salt - the same? Dietitian Amy Ekin explains why we need to watch our salt intake.

Salt, however it is named or packaged, is salt and too much is not good for us despite its form or colour.

Why is too much salt bad?

Salt is essential for our body function, however too much salt can increase blood pressure which in turn puts your heart at risk.

Excess salt in the diet can also cause fluid retention, osteoporosis and kidney stones.

What foods contain salt?

Salt is found naturally in almost every food. You can easily get your daily requirement from the natural salts found in fresh foods without having to add it to your meals.

Over 75 per cent of the salt we eat comes from processed foods. It is used as a preservative in packaged goods such as tinned, frozen and dried goods and is present in breads, cheese, takeaway foods and processed meats.

When selecting packaged goods always check the food label and select foods with less than 120mg per serve and avoid products containing more than 400mg per 100g serve.

The recommended average daily intake of salt is less than 6 grams (2300 milligrams sodium). But, the average Australian has about 9 grams of salt (3450 milligrams of sodium) every day.

Tips to help you reduce your salt intake

It can be difficult to reduce your salt intake, so do it gradually and your tastebuds will adjust to a lower salt diet within four to six weeks.

Try adding lemon, fresh or dried herbs and spices, which have their own health benefits, to flavour your meals without salt.

Focussing on a diet with plenty of fresh foods such as fruit, vegetables, lean meat and low fat dairy and less packaged goods will help reduce your salt intake.

Amy Ekin dietitian St John of God Mt Lawley Hospital
Amy Ekin - Senior Dietitian

Amy Ekin is a Senior Dietitian at St John of God Mt Lawley Hospital.

She has worked across many specialties during her career including oncology, surgical and medical. She is passionate about providing nutrition support to patients to aid recovery to get patients home and living their best life possible.