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Salt Awareness

Salt and health

Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure.  The higher your blood pressure, the higher your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.  Therefore, limiting the amount of salt you eat can help keep your heart healthy.  Blood pressure first starts to rise in children, so it is particularly important that children do not eat too much salt.

How much should you eat?

The average daily salt intake in the UK is 8 grams – much higher than we need.  The Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) for adults is less than 6 grams per day of salt (about one level teaspoon), and children should eat even less.
When cooking for children of any age, do not add salt to their food and try not to add salt at the table. 

Where is the salt we eat?

Some of the salt we eat comes from the salt we use in cooking and some from the salt we add at the table.  About 75% of the salt we eat has already been added to our food before we buy it.  This includes processed meat products (ham, bacon, sausages, salami), snacks such as crisps and biscuits, ready meals, soups, sauces, pickles, stock cubes, gravy powder, pasta sauces, cheese, bread and some breakfast cereals.

Tips for reducing your salt intake

• Do not add salt in cooking or at the table – use herbs and spices to add flavour instead
• Taste your food before seasoning it – try adding pepper or herbs instead.
• Check labels.  Use colour coded front of pack labels to see whether a food is high (red), medium (amber) or low (green) in salt.  Opt for foods with more ‘greens’ and ‘ambers’ and less ‘reds’.
• Choose low or reduced salt foods
• Restaurant and fast foods have high salt content – ask for less salt in your meal.
• Cut down on salty processed foods and ready meals and make your own if you can
• Sea salt is no better for your health than table salt – it still adds sodium chloride (salt) to your diet.

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