5 Tips to Reduce Your Salt Intake

Posted by nutritionist 01/02/2019 0 Comment(s) healthy lifestyle,

Are you eating way too much salt? Based on the National Nutrition Survey 2018, 90% of adult Singaporeans exceeded the recommended daily limit (5g of salt or one teaspoon), consuming a whopping 9g of salt on average!

 

Besides raising your blood pressure level, a high salt diet can elevate your risk of stroke, heart disease, heart failure, and worsening kidney function. Prevention is better than cure! Here’s 5 tips to lower your salt intake.

 

Tip 1: Eat more fresh foods.

 

  • Limit your consumption of processed foods as they usually contain high level of salt.

 

  • Buy fresh fish, poultry and pork instead of processed meats (e.g. meats that have been salted, smoked or cured). Also, ensure that no salt or saline solution has been added to the fresh items you’ve purchased.

 

Tip 2: Check out the food labels.

 

Foods that are high in salt do not necessarily taste salty as they may contain sugars that can effectively mask the taste. The only way to find out the salt content is to read the Nutrition Information Panel (NIP) on the food labels.

 

  • Salt is generally listed as ‘sodium’ and if it is stated in the first five ingredients, this implies that the food product is too high in sodium.

 

  • With the use of the ‘per 100g’ column, compare the sodium values of different brands of the same food item. Pick the one with the least sodium content.  To make things easier, you can convert sodium to salt; multiply the sodium value by 2.5. For instance, 2g (or 2000mg) of sodium per 100g is equivalent to 5g of salt per 100g. 

 

  • You may also look out for the Healthier Choice Symbol as a guide.

 

Tip 3: Make healthier choices when dining out.

 

Did you know that it is very easy for you to exceed your dietary limit if you simply have two meals at the hawker centre? Just a plate of char kway teow contains 3.7g of salt, which already contributes 74% of the recommendation! What's more worrisome is that almost one in four Singaporeans eat out daily, a 5% increase from 2015. 

 

Here’s how you can make eating out healthier!

 

  • Request for your meal to be cooked with less salt

 

  • Request for the sauces and salad dressings to be served “on the side”, and consume less of them

 

  • Share a plate of char kway teow with a friend and order a healthier alternative like fish soup to share

 

  • Avoid adding more salt or sauces

 

Also, do minimise your consumption of fast food. A McDonald's Deluxe Breakfast will easily have 2.8g of salt, making up more than half of the recommendation.

 

Tip 4: Use less salt when you cook.

 

  • Use herbs and spices (e.g. garlic, ginger, onion, cinnamon and cloves) to naturally improve the taste of your food.

 

  • Create your own stock and gravy rather than using stock cubes

 

  • Bring out the flavour of vegetables like tomatoes and red peppers by roasting or baking them

 

  • Refrain from adding luncheon meat, salted fish, salted eggs or sausages

 

Tip 5: Consider taking non-effervescent tablets.  

 

Did you know that each tablet of dissolvable (effervescent) vitamin supplement or painkillers can contain up to 1g of salt? You should switch to a non-effervescent tablet, especially if you have been told to monitor your salt consumption. 

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