As it’s National Salt Awareness Week this week I wanted to share with you the low down on salt.
What is salt?
When we think of salt we typically think of white table salt, which is sodium chloride. Salt is commonly used in food preparation and also for seasoning finished meals.
Why do we need it?
In food preparation, salt can be added to function as a preservative. In our bodies, sodium regulates our fluid balance and chloride aids digestion and potassium absorption.
Where do we get it?
Salt is an essential nutrient, meaning that our bodies cannot produce it, therefore it must come from our diet. Salt is found across various categories, the majority of our salt intake comes from processed foods e.g. soup, condiments, convenience meals and salty snacks e.g. crisps.
How much do we need?
The UK government recommends that adults should have no more than 6 grams of salt per day. The latest research has found that the UK population has reduced their salt intake by 11% (2005-06 = 8.1g/day and 2014 = 7.2g/day). However, we are still over consuming by 1.2 g/day.
What happens if we have too much?
A diet which is high in salt can contribute to elevated blood pressure. Having high blood pressure can increase your risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
I have also written a post on 5 ways to reduce your salt intake previously on my blog.
Salt Association – Salt & The Function Of Our Cells
National Diet & Nutrition Survey – assessment of dietary sodium
Action on Salt – Salt and your health