Salt_lead

Salt

Salt is one of the oldest ingredients, and is used all over the world to season food. It brings out the flavour in food, but it is also used to preserve it. Salt is one of the five basic flavours that our tongue can taste.

Salt is one of the oldest ingredients, and is used all over the world to season food. It brings out the flavour in food, but it is also used to preserve it. Salt is one of the five basic flavours that our tongue can taste.

Salt, or sodium chloride, is a natural mineral that occurs in seawater or is extracted from salt mines. Coarse salt is called sea salt or rock salt. Table or kitchen salt is coarse salt that’s been treated or refined in a factory to make it finer, and has an anti-caking agent added to make it less prone to ‘caking’ or clumping.

WHERE IS SALT FOUND IN OUR FOOD?


About 75% of the salt we consume comes from processed and prepared foods. Manufacturers who make processed food often add a lot of extra salt to improve the flavour and make food last longer. Because of this, salt is often found in foods you wouldn’t expect such as cereals, bread and even biscuits.

WHY SHOULD WE BE MINDFUL OF SALT INTAKE?

Although we need a small amount of salt in our diets to help regulate the amount of water in our bodies and aid other bodily functions, there is a strong link between consuming too much salt and bad health. Too much salt is associated with water retention and high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

 

The amount of salt we should consume varies depending on age and health. The recommended maximum daily intake of total salt in the UK is 6g (roughly 1 heaped teaspoon) for adults (11 years and older); 5g for children aged 7 to 10; 3g for children aged 4 to 6; and 2g for children aged 1 to 3.

 

To know whether a product or ingredient is high in salt, read the label and use the quantities above as a guide.

HOW TO CONTROL SALT INTAKE

• Prepare food from scratch.
• Avoid adding salt when using salty ingredients, such as bacon, anchovies, cheese, olives.
• Season with herbs, spices and citrus.
• Taste food before adding salt – you can always add more but you can’t take it away. Add sparingly and use a little bit less every time to allow your taste buds to adjust.
• Read the labels – salt is often hidden in foods you might not expect.
• Be wary of takeaways and fast foods – they’re often high in salt.