Your 4-Step Guide To Eating Less Salt And Protecting Your Heart
We’ve been warned countless times that salt is bad for us. Excess salt consumption leads to kidney disease, high blood pressure, and an increased risk for a heart attack and stroke. The World Health Organization has stipulated that adults should only consume 5g of the white mineral per day.
If you don’t watch what you eat it’s easy to exceed that limit. Making the bulk of your meals at home instead of ordering takeouts is the first step to consuming less salt. In the kitchen you have more control over what ingredients you use to make healthy meals. For those of you who are unsure where to start, we’ve compiled a handy list that you can use as a guideline.
1. Season Your Food With Spices and Herbs
Salt is a great flavour enhancer. It brings out the sweetness, while reducing the bitter taste in food. But a pinch of salt here, and a pinch of salt there while cooking, quickly adds up. It’s time to rethink the way you flavour food. Start stocking up your spice rack, and buy more herbs. Paprika, cinnamon, chilli powder, cumin and turmeric are all good ways to add flavour to your food without sodium. Augment these flavours with herbs such as rosemary, thyme, basil, fennel and sage.
Related: 5 Surprising Food Combinations That Could Prevent Cancer, A Heart Attack & Other Health Risks
2. Toss Out The Salad Dressing, Use Citrus Fruits Instead
You might ask yourself what is a salad without salad dressing? Still a salad would be the answer. If the thought of not having salad dressing over your leafy greens is enough to choke you up, a healthy solution exists. Store-bought salad dressing contains too much sodium. Flavour your salad by squeezing fresh lemon, lime or orange on top.
For those of you, with a taste for zest, take your love for citrus to the next level. Squeeze some lemon or lime over your cooked dishes, such as fish, to amplify the flavour of the dish, without adding additional salt.
Related: 7 Best Foods For When You Need An Energy Boost
3. Your Daily Bread Has To Go
Bread is one of the biggest contributors to South African’s salt intake. Whether we’re having toast for breakfast or a sandwich for lunch, bread consumption is hard to avoid. Bunless burgers have crept into the market as an alternative to bread consumption. Have your burger between lettuce leaves or two large portobello mushrooms. But if parting with your favourite carb is an idea you can’t entertain, read the nutritional information of it instead. Woolworth’s Low-Gi Bread and Albany’s Ultima loaf are both low in sodium compared to other loaves.
Related: How You Can Hack The Bread Aisle To Find The Healthiest Loaf
4. Re-think Your Sandwich Fillings
Bread is not the only ingredient in your sandwich contributing to your total sodium intake. While the listeriosis scare may have already convinced you to give up your processed meats, that cheese and sauce you’re using are also sending your salt intake sky high. Swop the polony and ham for leftover chicken or fish that you cooked last night. Alternatively use canned tuna in water (without the salt). Top the meat up with vegetables such as red onion, tomato and cucumber and you’ve got yourself one mean, flavourful sandwich. Replace your sauce with mashed avo or hummus.