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Simple ways to reduce your salt intake

Although for many years salt has been an important ingredient in our daily diet, it is fundamental that our intake is strictly moderated. It may come as a surprise that the recommended daily allowance for salt intake is a maximum of 1 tea spoon. However, with the rise of processed foods there is a tendency to consume far more than the recommendations.

Excessive salt intake can cause numerous illnesses and diseases, including high blood pressure and arthritis, amongst others. For these very reasons keeping an eye on your salt consumption has never been more necessary.

Developing healthy eating habits

Eat fresh and cook from scratch

Practically all foods, including those that are plant based, have some amount of salt in them so it's never simple to cut down your salt intake. Nevertheless, by choosing fresh plant-based foods - which contain the healthiest salt - over canned or processed alternatives you reduce the chances of consuming large quantities of unnatural salts.

Cooking at home is also a great way to reduce your salt intake. So next time you are in the supermarket contemplating a pre-cooked pizza or box of macaroni and cheese, take a step back and explore the fresh food aisles. Herbs and spices like basil, oregano, garlic and coriander can all provide delicious flavourings to your dishes. Also, refrain from using salt until just before the dish is ready to eat. By doing so you will limit the temptation to add more when the food is on the plate.

Limit the use of condiments

As tasty as they may be, sauces such as tomato ketchup, mayonnaise and salad dressings are rich in salt. Unfortunately these condiments have an addictive quality; however try to train your taste buds to eat without them. By gradually reducing the amounts until you no longer have cravings you will be doing your body a huge favour.

What to avoid

It goes without saying that there are certain foods that need to be avoided in order to reduce your salt intake.

Examples of such foods include, among others, any form of fast food, microwaveable meals and snacks like crisps and flavoured peanuts. Swap these for fresh fruits and vegetables, organic nuts and seeds and feel your body reap the benefits.

Looking ahead

With increased knowledge of how to reduce our salt intake we are in position to keep both our mind and body in peak condition in the hope of living a long and healthy life.

For more information on eating habits and diets consult your local GP or contact a nutritionist.

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