Our body needs salt for the contraction and relaxation of our muscles. Salt conducts nerve impulses in the body. It maintains the balance of water and minerals which is important for our heart, liver, and kidneys. Salt is not bad for you but too much or too little salt can cause problems in the body. Increased intake of salt can cause high blood pressure which may increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
How Much Salt Should We Consume In A Day?
Adults should eat no more than 5-6 g of salt a day which is equivalent to a teaspoon. Seems quite a lot but believe it or not most of the time we are eating way more than 6 g. The reason being that salt is in everything. Bread, cereals, butter, jam, stock cubes, crisps, pizzas. ketchup, sauces, mayonnaise, masala curry powders, and curry mixes. We put it in our curries, and many put it in the dough for rotis. Many of us also use saltshakers as a habit.
How To Reduce Its Intake
We need to train out tastebuds and slowly wean ourselves off it. Take baby steps and acknowledge that it is going to be a slow process. If we are putting a teaspoon of salt in our curry perhaps next time put 3/4th of a teaspoon. Continue to do so for few weeks. Once you start getting used to it then go for ½ a teaspoon and so on.
South Asian cooking uses a lot of spices, lemon, and lime in its food, and these can be enough to enhance the taste of your food.
Are Other Salt Variants Any Better?
Kosher salt, black salt, sea salt, pink salt all have sodium and you have to be careful of the amounts just as you would do in regular salts. The minerals and vitamins found in these salts are in very small amounts and to get their benefit you would need to have extremely large amounts of these salts. If you like the taste of these salts, please have them but thinking that they will benefit your health that’s not the case.
Kimchi, achar, and sauerkraut are fabulous for your gut microbiome. They can be high in salt but it’s all about awareness. You may adjust your salt in other foods if you wish to have these gut-friendly foods.
The information in this article was provided by Fareeha Jay. She is a Registered Dietician based in Plymouth. She is working as a Diabetes specialist, delivering educational sessions to people newly diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. She also runs her private practice. Her work entails online consultations with South Asians all over the world. If you wish to view her work, below are the links to her social media handles;