Gone are the days when salt was only dangerous if you were unlucky enough to be hovering behind someone throwing it over their shoulder. Or worse still, if you had to lick some off the back of your hand after an impromptu round of tequila shots.
Nowadays salt has gained a bad reputation for creeping into our favourite food and causing a host of health problems that we could best do without. But fear not. Salt Awareness Week is here to show us how to cut down on this seemingly innocent condiment that lurks on our dining room tables.
This year’s campaign encourages us to choose low salt options when eating out or buying food and is organised by the UK based Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH). Organisers will be speaking to salt-wielding chefs in restaurants and takeaways up and down the country, in a bid to reduce their salt-sprinkling ways.
According to CASH, we are all eating too much salt, as 75 per cent of our salt intake is already in the food we buy. And to rub salt into our wounds, most of us don’t even know we are eating it. Of course, some will take this article with a pinch of salt, but the NHS states that a high salt intake leads to high blood pressure – and that can cause a number of serious health problems. In the UK, high blood pressure is the main cause of strokes and a major cause of heart attacks, and heart failure.
How can we cut down on our salt intake?
Here are a few salt dodging tips to get you started
- Do not add salt while cooking or at the dinner table
- Avoid meals with salty ingredients like ham, bacon, cheese, smoked fish, olives and capers
- Go easy on the gravy and sauce as they add salt to your meal
- Use a low salt soy sauce
- You can replace salt with herbs, spices, lemon, chilli, garlic and ginger
- Check labels when shopping to make sure your food has a low salt content
- When cooking use olive or rapeseed oil. They have no salt and less saturated fat than butter
- If baking use recipes that replace margarine and butter with oil, eggs, ground nuts and fruit purées
To find out how you can get involved, visit the National Salt Awareness Week website.