Sodium chloride, more known as salt, is essential for life, being present in your saliva, sweat, tears, and even blood. What’s more, your nervous system, muscles, and overall body system can’t work properly without salt.
However, when consuming too much of it, salt becomes dangerous for your health. Even though the daily recommended sodium intake according to the U.S. FDA is 2,300 milligrams, the average American consumes much more.
The Link Between Salt & Diabetes
Even though salt doesn’t affect your blood sugar levels directly, it still plays an important part in your diabetes management. Limiting salt intake means lowering the risk of high blood pressure.
And, as you may know, high blood pressure can cause various diabetes complications. Some of them are stroke, heart disease, and kidney disease.
Furthermore, excess salt raises the risk of developing stomach cancer.
Before reducing the intake of salt, you should first know the sources of added salt.
Food Sources of Salt
- Salty meats, like bacon, ham, and sausages;
- Processed food, like ready meals and takeaways;
- Salted snacks, like popcorn, crisps, salted nuts, and biscuits;
- Gravy powder, stock cubes, and soy sauce;
- Pickles, ketchup, mayonnaise;
- Smoked fish, prawns, and anchovies;
- Bread and breakfast cereals;
- Canned, instant, and packed soups;
- Canned food which includes salt;
How to Reduce the Intake of Salt
Measure the amount of salt you add in cooking or salads, instead of just shaking the salt cellar. You’ll soon adapt to less salt.
Use plenty of vegetables, fruits, rice, potatoes, and pulses instead of buying processed foods. These are naturally low in salt, as opposed to salt-rich processed foods.
When buying ready meals, make sure you check the ‘front of the pack’ label. Avoid foods with red labeling for salt, but choose those with green or amber color labeling.
Always try your food before adding salt to it, whether it’s something you’ve cooked or you’re in a restaurant. An even better option is using herbs and spices to flavor your food, instead of your salt shaker.
What to Use Instead of Salt
- Ground black or white pepper, paprika, mild chili powder, and chives on potatoes;
- Lemon or mixed herbs to flavor white fish;
- Dill, ginger, and spring onion is great for salmon and other oily fish;
- Add some chopped coriander to curries;
- Basil and garlic to flavor your pasta;
- Rosemary and marjoram goes well on pork;
- Sage and thyme for turkey and chicken.
Make sure you choose reduced-salt foods when buying your groceries. Now, there’s even reduced-salt soy sauce, ketchup, and baked beans.
Did you know that 100 grams of regular ketchup contain even 2.2 grams of salt? But, if you get a reduced salt or sugar version, you’ll get ketchup with nearly half the amount of salt – 1.3 grams.
Also, you can make your own tomato salsa and use it instead of ketchup.
It’s the same case with baked beans. You can go with the reduced-salt or sugar version which contains 0.4 grams of salt and 5 grams of sugar, instead of the regular with 0.6 grams of salt and unbelievably 21.3 grams of sugar.
Gravy Granules and Stock Cubes
Standard stock is abundant in salt. Regular beef stock cubes contain 0.97 grams of salt per 100 milliliters. On contrary, the reduced-salt version has just 0.7 grams of salt.
A single serving of gravy granules contains 0.8 grams of salt, as opposed to the reduced-salt version which has 0.5 grams.
Avoid tinned fish, vegetables, and beans canned in brine. Instead, choose products canned in spring water.
More Questions Concerning Salt
Rock or sea salt –Are They Healthier Than Table Salt?
The expensive brands of salt you can find in supermarkets contain unnecessary sodium chloride to your food, so they are no different than the regular table salt.
Reduced-Sodium Salt – Is It a Better Option?
Reduced-sodium salt has less sodium but more potassium, which is not recommended for people with kidney disease. So, if you have kidney problems, it’s best to consult a doctor first.
Does Soluble Vitamin Supplements or Painkillers Contain Salt?
Effervescent painkillers and effervescent vitamin supplements can have up to one gram of salt per tablet. Therefore, you might want to consider switching it to non-effervescent tablets, especially if you need to limit your salt intake.