Salt (sodium)

salt shaker

Diets high in salt (sodium) have been linked to an increased risk of developing stomach cancer. Too much salt can also lead to high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease. For more information about heart disease visit the National Heart Foundation website.

The body does need salt to function. However in most circumstances we can meet our salt requirement naturally from foods and there is no need to add salt to our food. We recommend eating a diet low in salt.

Most of the salt in our diet comes from packaged and take-away foods, such as pizza, pies, sauces, soups, margarines, breads and breakfast cereals. When shopping, read food labels and try to choose products with less than 400 mg of sodium per 100 g. Less than 120 mg is best.

Tips to reduce your salt (sodium) intake:

  • Look for ‘low-salt', ‘no added salt' or ‘salt-reduced' products
  • Reduce the salt you eat gradually to help you get used to the new taste
  • Limit or avoid adding salt during cooking or at the table. Instead flavour your food with herbs, spices, pepper, garlic, chilli, and lemon juice
  • Be aware that products such as sea salt, himalayan salt, chicken salt, garlic salt, onion salt and celery salt all contain sodium and so have the smae health effects as ordinary table salt
  • Only use small amounts of very salty ingredients (such as soy sauce, olives and anchovies) in cooking
  • Swap salty snacks like pretzels and potato chips for snacks such as fruit, yoghurt and unsalted nuts and seeds
  • Limit take-away foods and pre-packaged sauces and condiments
  • Limit processed meats, such as bacon, ham and salami
  • Choose fish canned in spring water rather than brine.