14 to 20 March is World Salt Health Awareness Week and we have some handy recipe tips and tricks to help salt lovers cut down on your salt intake and improve your health.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally with 18.6-million deaths in 2019 (read more here). Salt has been shown to be the highest risk factor with the Southern Sub-Saharan African region consuming approximately 8g per day, far exceeding the World Health Organisation’s recommendation of less than 5g per day.
World Action On Salt, Sugar and Health (WASSH) is a global group with the mission to improve the health of populations throughout the world by achieving a gradual reduction in salt and sugar intakes. In an article published on their site on 31 January 2022, new research by MRC Research Unit for Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease, North-West University, Potchefstroom (published in the Journal of Hypertension) suggests mandatory salt reduction targets are an effective approach to reducing population salt intakes and improving outcomes of strokes and heart disease.
While this is good news and helps with food legislation, it’s easy for us at home to still grind extra salt over our daily dishes. So, we have some hacks and tips to help you reduce your salt intake while still getting maximum flavour!
Healthy Hacks To Reduce Salt
- Choose whole, unprocessed foods and eat plenty of vegetables and fruit.
- Check food labels before you buy to help you choose less salty options. Look for “reduced sodium” or “low salt” options.
- Make your own sauces and salad dressings – often these store-bought versions contain a lot of added salt and freshly made sauces and dressings pack more flavour punch too.
- Use “out of sight, out of mind” thinking: take salt and salty sauces off the table to reduce temptation and also so that younger family members won’t develop the habit of adding salt.
- Use herbs, spices, garlic and citrus in place of salt to add flavour to your food during cooking and at the table. Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds a lot of flavour to salads, vegetables and meats while offering a satisfying zing. Fresh herbs – like basil, parsley and coriander – also offer pops of extra flavour taking away the need to add salt. Think of other spices to use instead, like chillies, paprika, cumin or coriander seed to add flavour to your dishes.
- Cut back on processed meats, smoked foods and salty takeaways as these are always laden with extra salts.
- Rinse your tinned food items, like lentils, chickpeas and beans. The liquid often contains a lot of salt for preserving.