Salt is a major component of food; however, consuming too much salt can have negative effects on the body, including high blood pressure level. Furthermore, elevated blood pressure increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease that may also lead to heart failure. So, to keep the heart’s health intact, it is important to limit the amount of salt each day.
Our experts say that a high blood pressure puts added force against the walls of the arteries. This extra pressure, in future, can damage the arteries, which makes them more likely to become narrowed and hardened by fatty deposits called plaque.
The cases of heart disease and heart transplant in India are increasing with every passing day. It is important to be informed and have a better understanding of factors that can cause slow damage to the heart.
How Much Salt is Too Much?
Adults should consume about one teaspoon salt each day – that is less than 6 grams. This includes salt that one adds when cooking and at the table, as well as salt that is already present in packed and readymade food.
Dr Ritiwck Raj Bhuyan, Principal Consultant & Incharge, CTVS, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Patparganj, says, according to their age, the salt consumption quantity of children should be less than adults.
||Max. Sodium Per Day
||Max. Salt Per Day
|11 Years and Older
As per the British Heart Foundation, some simple steps can reduce salt intake and improve long-term health. Moreover, WHO states that consuming a moderate amount of salt (less than 6g) per day helps in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, coronary heart attack, blood pressure and stroke.
What is Hidden Salt?
Around three-quarter of the salt that you consume is through packaged and processed food. In addition, everyday food items like cereals and bread also have added salt, and because the consumption of these foods is so often, the amount of salt in them can really add up to overall use. The amount of salt varies from brand to brand, so checking the label before making a purchase decision can help one choose healthier options.
How to Balance Salt Intake?
Most people have a misconception that low salt food is bland and tasteless; however, this is not true. There are a lot of things one can do to consume tasty yet healthy food. Some of these include:
- Try picking packaged food with low-salt options and ingredients
- Check the label for color coding to identify the amount of salt (red – high in salt, amber – medium salt, green – low in salt)
- Try adding less salt when cooking food and no salt at all at the table
- Use lemon juice, pepper, garlic, spices and herbs to add flavour to food
- Keep away from using packaged cooking sauces (especially soy sauce) – they have a high salt component
- Swap salty snacks with fruits and vegetables
- Avoid processed foods, bacon, ready-to-eat meals, cheese and other food items that have a high salt level
- Eat home cooked meals as much as possible
Follow these tips, and you will be surprised how quickly your taste buds adapt.