domingo, 1 de mayo de 2011

Salt tips and myths

spice jars There are lots of simple ways to reduce the amount of salt you eat, whether you're eating at home or eating out. Take a look at our salt tips to see what you can do. There are many myths about salt and sometimes these can stop people trying to cut down, so test your knowledge by checking out our salt myths.

On this page

 Eating at home
Eating out
 Salt myths

Eating at home

  • Compare the labels on different types of bread and choose the ones lower in salt. Supermarket own-label bread is often lower.
  • Go for reduced-salt back bacon in your bacon sandwich. And try adding some slices of tomato instead of ketchup.
  • Switch to breakfast cereals with no added salt, such as shredded wholegrain wheat cereals, some muesli or home-made porridge. Or compare the labels on your favourite cereals and choose the ones lower in salt.
  • Go for tinned veg and pulses without added salt.
  • Watch out for the salt content in bought pasta sauces – compare the labels and choose the one that is lower in salt. Often tomato-based sauces are lower than cheesy sauces or those containing olives, bacon or ham.
  • For healthier snacks try to choose fruit or vegetables like carrot or celery sticks, a teacake or a fruit bun. If you are going to have crisps or crackers, check the label and choose the ones lower in salt.
  • Go easy with soy sauce, mustard, pickles and mayonnaise – these can all be high in salt.
  • Try having just a small amount of smoked foods such as smoked meat and fish, or eat them less often, because these can be high in salt.
  • Compare the labels on different ketchups and choose the one lower in salt –own-label ketchup is often lower. Or try to use less.
  • Try not to add salt automatically when you're cooking or about to eat. Often people only use salt out of habit.


There are lots of ways to add flavour to your cooking without using any salt.
  • Add fresh herbs to pasta dishes, vegetables and meat.
  • Marinate meat and fish in advance to give them more flavour.
  • Use garlic, ginger, chilli and lime in stir fries.
  • Add a little red wine to stews and casseroles, and white wine to risottos and sauces for chicken.
  • Make your own stock and gravy, instead of using cubes or granules, or look out for reduced-salt products.
  • Try roasting vegetables such as red peppers, tomatoes, courgettes, fennel, parsnips and squash to bring out their flavour.
  • Squeeze lemon juice onto fish or seafood.
  • Try using different types of onion – brown, red, white, spring onions, shallots.
  • Make sauces using ripe flavourful tomatoes and garlic.
  • Use black pepper as seasoning on pasta, scrambled egg, tomatoes etc. instead of salt.

Eating out

If you're eating in a restaurant or café, or ordering a takeaway, you can still eat less salt by making some smart choices.
  • When you order a pizza, choose vegetable or chicken toppings instead of pepperoni, bacon, or extra cheese.
  • If you’re having a pasta dish, choose one with a sauce based on tomatoes, vegetables or chicken, rather than bacon, cheese or sausage.
  • At the sandwich bar, go for fillings such as chicken, egg, mozzarella, or vegetables such as avocado or roasted peppers, instead of ham or Cheddar cheese. And try having salad and low-fat mayonnaise instead of pickle or mustard, which are usually higher in salt.
  • If you're having a Chinese or Indian meal, go for plain rice because this is lower in salt than egg-fried rice or pilau rice.
  • At the fish and chip shop, ask for your food without salt, then add it yourself to taste, and maybe try having a little less – you can still have plenty of vinegar.
  • Instead of a full English breakfast, go for a poached egg on toast with mushrooms and grilled tomatoes, or have just bacon or a sausage.
  • Ask for salad dressings or sauces on the side, so you only have as much as you need. Some dressings and sauces can be high in salt, as well as fat.
  • Taste your food before adding salt automatically – the chef will have seasoned the dish already, so you shouldn't need to add more.
  • If you’re having a burger, try having it with just some salad in the bun and avoid toppings that can be high in salt, such as bacon, cheese and barbecue sauce.

Salt myths

I can't be eating too much salt because I don't add it to my food – FALSE
About 75% of the salt we eat comes from everyday foods such as bread, some breakfast cereals, soups, sauces and sausages – so it’s easy to eat too much salt without adding any yourself.
Food has no flavour without salt – FALSE
If you're used to foods that are high in salt, or adding lots of salt to your food, you could miss it when you first cut down. This is because our taste buds get used to high levels of salt. So, at first, you could find some foods bland without it.
But our taste buds can get used to eating less salt in about eight weeks and after that you're more likely to enjoy food with less salt, or no salt at all. Salt can hide subtle flavours, so you might prefer some foods with less salt, once your taste buds have had time to adjust.
You can tell what foods are high in salt because they taste salty – FALSE
Some foods that are high in salt don't taste very salty. Sometimes this is because they have lots of sugar in them as well, for example some breakfast cereals.
Also, our taste buds get used to high levels of salt, so you might not notice the saltiness of some foods. When people get used to eating less salt their taste buds become more sensitive. So sometimes when they eat a food they used to eat all the time, they are surprised to find how salty it tastes.
Only old people need to worry about how much salt they eat – FALSE
Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure at any age. It's true that you have less chance of developing heart disease or stroke in your 20s or 30s than when you're older. But if you have high blood pressure when you're young, you're still at greater risk than someone the same age with normal blood pressure.
Sea salt is better for you than table salt – FALSE
It doesn’t matter how expensive salt is, where it’s from, or whether it comes in grains, crystals or flakes – it all contains sodium and it’s the sodium in salt that can raise your blood pressure if you have too much.
ou need more salt in hot climates because you sweat so much – FALSE
We only lose a small amount of salt through sweat, even in extremely hot places. So there’s no need to eat more salt during hot weather. But it’s important to drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated.
If I cut down on salt my body won't have enough – FALSE
It's actually very difficult to eat too little salt. This is because it's in so many everyday foods, such as breakfast cereals, bread, soups, sauces and ketchup. And people in some countries survive on a fraction of the amount of salt eaten by people in the UK.
I’d know if I had high blood pressure – FALSE
Many people with high blood pressure have no symptoms, so you can’t assume that your blood pressure is normal if you haven’t had it tested. One in four people in the UK have high blood pressure and many of those don’t realise they have it.

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