A pinch of salt

Despite what you may have heard, salt is an important dietary requirement, it only becomes a problem when we start to consume too much.

Salt is made up of two compounds; sodium and chloride. Sodium is the primary electrolyte that regulates the levels of water in your body. Believe it or not sodium keeps your body hydrated by pumping more water into your cells. Your kidneys act like a filter, by regulating the levels of sodium in your body. So why do you need to watch how much salt you eat?

Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure, which will put you at a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Foods that have a high salt content come in many forms, the most popular being: Crisps, Popcorn, Ready meals, bacon, butter… the list goes on.

It’s important to be aware of which foods contain high levels of salt. There are many foods you wouldn’t expect to have high traces or traces of salt at all, such as bread and cereal. Therefore, the best way to keep track of the amount you consume is to take a look at the packaging the food you buy comes in. The Food Standards Agency has a law in place that requires food producers to list how much salt their products contain, and whether it contains low, medium or high amounts of salt. When you start to take notice, you will be surprised at the levels of salt some products contain, crisps and nuts especially!

We all need a bit of seasoning with our food, just be sure to watch how much you have on a daily basis, and Bon Appétit!

Written by Ruth Tongue

(MSc Nutrition)