Secret Salt

  • By
    Roxanne Fisher - Health editor - bbcgoodfood.com

Are you a slave to the saltshaker? Do you worry about the salty secrets of your favourite foods? The answer for many of us is a resounding, no. We've become accustomed to gasping at the calorie count of everything we eat but when it comes to salt, for most of us, ignorance is bliss...

Falk salt

The Food Standard's Agency (FSA) recommends that adults consume no more than 6g salt a day (approximately one full teaspoon). However, it is estimated our average intake is closer to 9g. When at the supermarket, look at the salt content per 100g. The FSA suggests anything with more than 1.5g salt included is high while anything under 0.3g is considered low.

Table salt

Research from the Blood Pressue Association has found too much salt in your diet is damaging. It has been linked to high blood pressure (which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke), stomach cancer and is thought to exacerbate osteoporosis and asthma.

Some foods are naturally high in salt while others can vary widely between brand and variety. Below are a few of the most common culprits to look out for, along with our homemade recommendations...
 

Bread

BreadFilling the house with the smell of baking bread is far nicer than buying a stale loaf from the local shop. Make your own for a satisfying, low-salt treat.

Make your own:

 

Breakfast cereals

Tropical muesli bowlWorryingly, some breakfast cereals including those targeting children, have a high salt content - so always check the label. Make your own using rolled oats, your favourite fruits and natural sweeteners like honey or a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Make your own:

Pasta sauce

Chicken tarragon pastaA quick and simple staple that could be hiding more than meets the eye. Tomato sauces that many reach for as a reduced fat option were found in research to be among the saltiest on the shelves.

Make your own:

 

Pizza

Minty lamb flatbreadsIt's probably not a surprise to hear that one of our favourite fast foods is packed with salt - but chorizo toppings and extra cheese aren't always to blame. Deep-pan pizzas can hide a multitude of sins while tomato bases are often pepped up with extra seasoning. 

Make your own:


Soup

Spiced root soup with crispy spiced onionsIt's frustrating to think that a simple soup, a seemingly healthy choice for your supermarket sweep, can often be packed with salt. As a guide, each 100g portion of soup should contain no more than 0.6g of salt. Luckily, making your own is quick and easy.

Make your own:

 

Sandwiches

Crab sandwichesPre-packed sandwiches are often labelled well so it is easier to avoid those salty sinners. The high salt content is often attributed to the type of ingredients used, with popular fillings such as ham, cheese, prawns, pickles and bacon being naturally high in salt. However, the type of bread and spread used can also contribute.

Make your own:


Condiments

Salmon and watercress-mayonnaiseThat's right, even something as simple as tomato ketchup can be a salty quagmire. Some popular brands now offer reduced salt and sugar versions, but play it safe with homemade... nothing tastes quite like it.

Make your own:

 

 

All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact  your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

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