High blood pressure (hypertension) is a major risk factor for heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular problems. The Department of Health estimates that if we could reduce our average salt intake from 8g per day to 6g per day, we could prevent more than 8,000 premature deaths (i.e. deaths before the age of 70) from heart attacks and stroke.
Heart health is a sizeable concern for the Irish community with clear evidence of higher, and in some cases increasing, mortality among Irish men and women from coronary heart disease, hypertension and stroke.
Adults should eat less than 6 grams of salt each day – that’s about one teaspoon. Most people already know that foods like crisps or dry roasted nuts are high in salt, but you might be surprised how much salt every day foods can add to your diet.
Around three quarters of the salt we eat has already been added to our food before we buy it. As well as foods like packet soups and sauces and ready meals, every day foods like bread and breakfast cereals often have added salt too. Because we eat these foods so often, the amount of salt they provide can really add up.
British Hearts Foundations top tips for reducing salt intake:
Low salt food doesn’t need to be tasteless or bland. There are lots of things you can do to make sure your food is still exciting and satisfying.
- Check the nutritional information on food labels and try to pick low–salt options and ingredients
- Add less salt when cooking and don’t add salt to your food at the table. As you get used to the taste of food without salt, cut it out completely.
- Flavour your food with pepper, herbs, garlic, spices or lemon juice instead.
- Watch out for cooking sauces and seasonings like soy sauce or jerk seasoning –some of these are very high in salt.
- Swap salty snacks such as crisps and salted nuts with fruit and vegetables instead.
- Avoid saltier foods such as bacon, cheese, takeaways, ready meals and other processed foods.
Download Irish in Britain’s 30–Day Challenge Guide which includes a whole range of tips and advice on how small changes can make big differences to your health.