Salt: How much is too much?
Scientific data shows that High sodium consumption (>2 grams/day, equivalent to 5 g salt/day) contribute to high blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke – World Health Organization (WHO)
The primary source of sodium in our diet is salt and preserved foods. Salt intake of less than 5 grams ( one level tea spoon) per day for adults helps to reduce blood pressure and thus the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and heart attack .WHO Member States have agreed to reduce the global population’s intake of salt by a relative 30% by 2025.
Rapid Urbanisation and changing life styles are transforming diet patterns, towards the use of more processed foods that are easily available at lower costs, thus the consumption of more salt in them.
Recommendations for salt reduction
• For adults: WHO recommends that adults consume less than 5 g (just under a teaspoon) of salt per day
• All salt that is consumed should be iodized , essential for healthy brain development in the foetus and young child and optimizing people’s mental function in general.
• Add less salt during the food preparation
• Avoid salt shaker on the table
• limit the consumption of salty snacks , pickles , sauses , Papad , chutnies , pizza , chips, bhujia etc
• Use freshly cooked foods with 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables , as Potassium content in fruits and vegetables is good to control high blood pressure. Adding unsalted nuts is a good option.
The author is former chief dietician, AIIMS
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