Alex O'Brien

Australians eat too much salt

Australians eat too much salt

Did you know the average Australian consumes around three times more sodium than they need for good health? The Heart Foundation advise that all Australians should at least reduce their salt intake to less than one and half teaspoons (six grams) of salt a day(approximately 2,300 mg of sodium a day) as a first step towards reaching the recommended levels. Salt intake above this is associated with high blood pressure.

The hardest part about making sure you don’t overdo it when it comes to salt and sodium is identifying what foods in your diet have these ingredients in them. While we talk about salt in teaspoons or grams, around 75 per cent of the salt in our diet comes from processed foods – so you can’t see the added salt in processed foods, which means often you are unaware of the amount of salt you are having. So while it may be difficult to precisely monitor, here are some tips that should help limit your intake.

Fill your plate with fruit and veg

Our bodies need more potassium than sodium and as fruit and veg are naturally low in sodium and, many are a good source of potassium, filling up on these foods is a simple way to cut back on the bad stuff and get more of what’s good for you.

Embrace healthy fats and oils

Skip the fat-free products – which are often laden in other ingredients like salt or sugar – and opt for good fats like vegetable oils, fish, avocado and nuts.

Retrain your taste buds

Shift your sense of taste to enjoy and get used to eating foods that are low in salt and sodium. If you start with gradual changes and be consistent over time, you won’t even notice the difference.

Rinse canned foods before eating

By doing this you will get rid of some of the excess sodium that can be on the surface of the food. Rinse the food in running water for at least 30 seconds. 

Use salt substitutes

Instead of reaching for the salt to season your food at the dinner table, instead why not opt for spices and herbs. They’re flavoursome and many have good nutritional value too.