Salt is also called sodium chloride. Some foods are almost always high in salt. 75% of the salt we eat is already in everyday foods such as bread, breakfast cereal and ready meals. A diet that is high in salt can cause raised blood pressure. High blood pressure often has no symptoms, but it puts you at increased risk of health problems such as heart disease and stroke.
High-salt foods include anchovies, bacon, cheese, gravy granules, ham, olives, pickles, prawns, salami, salted and dry roasted nuts, soy sauce, stock cubes, yeast extract, salt fish and smoked meat/ fish.
Foods that can be high in salt include bread products such as crumpets, bagels and ciabatta, breakfast cereals, pasta sauces, crisps, pizza, ready meals/soups/sandwiches, sausages, tomato ketchup, mayonnaise and other sauces.
In some foods, the salt content can vary widely between different brands or varieties. Some foods, such as bread and breakfast cereals, can contribute a lot of salt to our diet not because they are always high in salt, but because we eat a lot of them.
- Adults should eat no more than 6g of salt a day (around one full teaspoon).
- Babies and children under 11 should have less salt than adults.
- Babies under a year old need less than 1g of salt a day, as their kidneys can’t cope with more. If a baby is breastfed, they will get the right amount of salt from breast milk. Formula milk contains a similar amount.
A few simple steps can help you to cut your salt intake:
- Stop adding salt to your food during cooking and at the dinner table.
- If you regularly add salt to food when cooking, try cutting it out or adding less.
- Do not add salt to your baby’s milk or food. Stock cubes or gravy as they’re often high in salt-remember this when you’re cooking for the family if you plan to give the same food to your baby.
- Avoid giving your baby processed foods such as ready meals as these are often high in salt. Food manufactured specifically for babies should meet the recommended levels. If in doubt, always check the label.
- Make sure your child doesn’t eat too much salt –this means you’re also helping to ensure that they don’t develop a taste for salty food, which makes them less likely to eat too much salt as an adult.
Remember to check food labels
Use nutrition labels on food packaging to help you cut down on salt:
- high is more than 1.5g salt per 100g (or 0.6g sodium)
- low is 0.3g salt or less per 100g (or 0.1g sodium)
For further information on nutrition labels click here