Happy National Salt Awareness Week! Yes, it’s an official thing. Although most of us will probably be more attracted to last month’s ‘Pie Week’ and ‘Nutella Day’ - this is the one we should ALL be paying attention to. The UK is eating too much salt. The NHS warns:
"A diet that is high in salt can cause raised blood pressure, which currently affects more than one third of adults in the UK.
"High blood pressure often has no symptoms, and it is estimated that in England about one in every three people who have high blood pressure don’t know it. But if you have it, you are more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke."
How much salt should we have a day?
The NHS advises: "Adults should eat no more than 6g of salt a day – that's around one teaspoon. Children should eat less"
"Cutting back on added salt is only a small part of the solution. To really cut down, you need to become aware of the salt that is already in the everyday foods you buy, and choose reduced-salt options.
"Fortunately, nutrition labels on food packaging now make this a lot easier. Most pre-packed foods have a nutrition label on the back or side of the packaging."
Top tips for cutting back
Asda's food assistant Cate Dixon has some great advice for lowering our salt levels.
- When buying processed food choose the reduced salt option - reduced-salt ketchup, reduced-salt sweetcorn, reduced-salt baked beans, soups, salt-free nuts and seeds, less-salt soy sauce.
- Be careful when buying low salt products that the haven’t upped the sugar content to compensate in flavour - read the label.
- Add strong, natural flavours to your cooking to compensate for using less salt - cook with lots of spices, garlic, onion, tomato purée, lemon and vinegars.
- When making a sauce, cook with the lid off and reduce the volume slowly to intensify the flavours naturally and thicken it.
- Cook from scratch whenever possible to know exactly what is going into your food.
- Watch out for salts in sweet products like bread and cakes where you might not expect to find them. Always read the label.
- Be aware that certain foods like smoked food such as smoked mackerel and salmon can be high in salt.
- If using tinned foods, drain off the excess liquid and rinse under a cold tap to rinse off any excess salt.
Lower salt dinner ideas for the week
Cutting down on your sodium doesn't have to mean bland and boring meals. Here are some great low-salt dinner options for anyone wanting to reduce their salt intake.
This fuss-free frittata is a doddle done in the oven.
Fish for compliments with great-value mackerel...and they'll be hooked!
Although the pork is the star ingredient, it's the tangy leek sauce that defines this dish.
You can make your own tortilla wraps for pennies and if you griddle the chicken and veg it's healthier too.
Use different veggies if you have fresh produce that needs using up.