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Cease The Salt Intake! Five Tips To Cut Back

In recognition of World Salt Awareness Week, which takes place from 13-19 March, Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality healthcare, highlights the health risks of excessive salt intake and provides five tips to help cut back on salt.

Why Is Salt Bad for Your Health?

While salt is essential to our diets, consuming too much can harm our health.

Sodium, a significant part of salt, is necessary for regulating blood pressure and fluid balance. Excess salt consumption, however, can increase the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.

“The World Health Organization recommends that adults consume less than five grams of salt per day, but many people consume much more than this,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

“People consume too much salt due to various factors such as taste preference, lack of awareness, convenience, and the use of processed foods in their diets.”

High salt intake can also lead to fluid retention, which can cause bloating, weight gain, and swelling in the extremities. Furthermore, studies have indicated that a high-salt diet may increase the risk of certain types of cancer, such as stomach cancer.

Reducing salt intake can have numerous health benefits. It can improve kidney function, lower the risk of stroke, and lower the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. Furthermore, reducing salt intake can help lower the risk of osteoporosis, as high salt intake can lead to bone calcium loss.

Common Foods High in Sodium

Many processed and packaged foods contain high sodium levels, but even some seemingly healthful foods, like bread and cheese, can be high in salt.

The following are some examples of high-salt foods:

  • Pizza
  • Sandwiches and wraps
  • Soup
  • Bacon and sausage
  • Canned veggies and beans
  • Cheese
  • Processed meat (deli meat, hot dogs)
  • Bread and rolls
  • Savoury snacks like chips and pretzels
  • Condiments including ketchup, soy sauce, and salad dressings

“By being aware of the salt content of these and other foods, and by making an effort to choose lower-salt options and cook at home using fresh, whole ingredients, we can reduce our salt intake and improve our overall health,” adds Hewlett.

Five Easy Ways to Reduce Sodium Intake

Affinity Health provides five easy ways to reduce salt intake without compromising taste.

1. Read Food Labels


Reading food labels and selecting items with less salt is one of the simplest ways to reduce salt intake. Food labels often list the sodium content per serving, so look for products that have less than 120mg of sodium per 100g. It’s also important to be aware of serving sizes, as some products may appear low in sodium but contain high levels when consumed in larger quantities.


2. Cook at Home


When you cook at home, you have control over the ingredients that go into your meals. You can use less salt or replace it with other herbs and spices for added flavour. Fresh herbs like basil, parsley, and coriander can add depth of flavour to a dish, while garlic and ginger can give it a kick.


3. Choose Low-Salt Options


Many food products now offer low-salt or no-salt options, such as canned vegetables, soups, and snacks. When shopping, look for products marked as low-salt or no-salt, and consider trying new options to see which ones you prefer.


4. Limit Processed and Packaged Foods


Many processed and packaged foods, such as frozen dinners, canned soups, and snack foods, contain high sodium levels. To reduce salt intake, limit these foods and choose fresh, whole foods to reduce your salt intake best. A diet high in fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains can help minimise salt intake while providing various health benefits.


5. Be Mindful When Eating Out

Knowing how much salt is in a dish can be challenging. To reduce salt intake, choose dishes made with fresh, whole ingredients and ask the chef to prepare your meal with less salt. It’s also important to be mindful of condiments and sauces, which can add significant salt to a meal. Consider asking for these items to control how much you use.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health insurance provider, offering you a range of options at affordable rates, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our range of healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to always give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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