Last updated on Jan 18th, 2021 at 11:45 am

Eating too much salt raises your blood pressure and with an estimated 6,1 million South Africans suffering from high blood pressure, it’s time to take a serious look at salt!  

Consuming too much salt encourages your body to retain water which in turn raises your blood pressure and puts strain on your kidneys, arteries and heart while increasing your risk of a stroke.

According to the World Action on Salt and Health (WASH), a high salt diet doesnâ??t only impact blood pressure – a wide body of evidence indicates a link to kidney disease, obesity, stomach cancer and osteoporosis.

Salt is also thought to exacerbate the symptoms of diabetes, Meniere’s disease, asthma and Alzheimerâ??s disease. 

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So how much salt is enough?

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, an adult should only consume 2 300 mg daily of sodium or the equivalent of one teaspoon of salt.

While some people suffer from hereditary hypertension and require professional medical attention and medication, the benefits of cutting down on salt is clear! 

Tips to help you reduce your salt intake… 

  • Look out for hidden salt by reading food labels when shopping and choosing low sodium or salt-free foods

  • Snack on fresh fruit, dried fruit or unsalted nuts instead of slated chips and roasted, salted nuts

  • Limit takeaways and fast food meals to an occasional treat

  • When ordering that occasional pizza, choose a vegetarian or chicken topping. Avoid pepperoni, bacon or extra cheese toppings, all of which are high in salt, and rather opt for mushrooms as they are very low in sodium

  • Instead of cooking with salt, try flavouring food with healthy herbs and spices

  • When eating out, ask the waiter not to add sauces or salad dressings to your meal

  • Avoid eating dishes with a high salt content such as Asian sauces, cured meats and cheeses

  • Instead of adding extra salt over your plate food when dining out or eating at home, add black pepper

It’s Salt Awareness Week (11-17 March) so instead of sprinkling a pinch of salt on your food, toss it over your shoulder for good luck and even better health! 

Sources: All Africa, Blood Pressure UK, Live Strong, South African Mushroom Farmerâ??s Association and World Action on Salt and Health 

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.