Australians Still Consuming Too Much Salt

Australian men and women are consuming far too much salt despite health warnings about the higher risk of heart disease associated with excess salt intake. The World Health Organization recommends eating no more than five grams of salt per day, yet many of us eat nearly twice that much or more.

Part of the reason for the high average salt intake may be common misconceptions. For example, people may find it difficult to imagine their food having enough flavour without salt. In truth, it’s easy to bypass salt as a primary seasoning agent; it just takes a little education and some trial and error. As you continue eating lower-sodium foods, your taste buds will adjust, and you will start to enjoy the natural flavours of the foods you eat more.

Another myth you may believe is you can tell whether a food is high in salt by its taste. Some salty foods don’t taste that way, because combining salt with sugar and other ingredients can mask the taste. Finally, some people are afraid to lower their salt intake too much for health reasons. It’s true you need a certain amount of salt to stay healthy but eating too little is nearly impossible because salt is present in so many common foods.

It can be tricky to know how much salt you’re eating because so much of it is hidden in packaged foods or foods served in restaurants. Most people consume nine to 12 grams of salt each day, an amount large enough to contribute to hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease, and stroke. By lowering your salt intake to no more than five grams per day, you can reduce these risks and the dangers that come with them. In fact, lowering your salt intake is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to improve your health.

You can bring your salt intake into a healthy range with a few simple changes. First, stop adding salt to the food you cook and don’t keep a salt shaker on the table. There are many ways to add flavour to your food, including packaged salt alternatives and plenty of herbs and spices like basil, paprika, rosemary, oregano, cumin, dill, nutmeg, and cinnamon. You can also limit the number of salty snack foods you consume and read labels to choose products with lower salt content.

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