Salt Sneak – Strategies for Less Saltiness is almost a tongue twister – try saying that five times!
As a nation our love for reality shows, including those that involve cooking and celebrity chefs continues to grow and grow. Amidst all the competition and fanfare, have you noticed that these chef’s and their charges are very liberal with adding salt to their dishes? A bit of salt here, a lot of of it over there…
The problem with this of course, is that you and I get the impression that throwing these white grains on everything is perfectly fine. Salt can add a particular flavour to food (although most certainly not the only ingredient to do so) but frequent and excessive use can certainly have a negative impact on blood pressure, especially for those with existing hypertension.
The Very Taste of It
Your taste buds get used to the very taste of salt and then food without it seems to have no flavour. In reality, after a short period of shaking less salt, your food starts to taste how it should and real flavours start to emerge out of the saltiness. So many everyday foods that we eat already have salt added, with cereal, bread and cheese being perfect examples of high content.
Technically, salt is a chemical compound of sodium and chlorine and is called sodium chloride. Rock and sea salt are almost entirely sodium chloride with only traces of other minerals.
Iodised salt is intended as a supplement for people whose diet is deficient in iodine. This is important because adequate iodine is essential for the brain development of unborn babies, infants and young children. Iodine is only found in small quantities in food and iodised salt is the richest source available. It is advisable for us all to purchase salt with iodine for this reason.
Iodine aside, all types of salt whether they be rock, pink or from the soaring heights of the Himalayan peaks to the very depths of the Dead Sea, all contain the same quantity of sodium chloride and are therefore all equal in terms of the quantity they contain. By the way, the amount of other nutrients in any variety of salt is extremely minimal, no matter what the marketing proclaims.
What’s the Problem With Eating Too Much Salt?
Research has shown that too much salt is linked to high blood pressure. High blood pressure or hypertension occurs when blood vessels harden leading to a build-up of pressure. It increases the risk of developing heart disease and stroke and can lead to problems in other parts of the body such as the eyes and kidneys.
What Is The Best way to Reduce My Salt Intake?
- Don’t add it to cooking
- Be mindful that stock (both liquid and powder) and many sauces and gravies are high in salt, so minimize the use of these in cooking
- Choose low or reduced sodium products in the supermarket – remember to read the label
- Enjoy a diet rich in fruit and vegetables as they are naturally very low
- Choose fresh, rather than packaged meats. Fresh meat, chicken, pork and lamb contain natural sodium but much less than packaged varieties such as ham, bacon and other processed sandwich meats
- Look out for products that don’t necessarily taste salty but have a significant salt content, cereal being a perfect example.
- Be careful of making salty choices in café’s and restaurants. Salt is not something that is usually listed or highlighted, but you can ask the waiter or waitress to serve a dish without added salt.
- Take-away and snack foods are often extremely high, so its best to limit your consumption of these.
The taste for salt CAN be changed. It will take around 4-6 weeks for your taste buds to adapt but they WILL and once this happens everything will taste too salty!
What about you – do you need to change your salt habits or do you have some tips that may help other readers?