When you do add salt to your food, it’s a good idea to choose iodised. Iodine is an essential nutrient for thyroid function. It is also especially important if you are pregnant, as it helps your baby’s brain and nervous system to develop. Iodine deficiency can lead to a brain-damaged baby.
The Ministry of Health recommends around 4g of salt (which contains 1600mg of sodium) a day, with no more than 6g (or 2300mg sodium)
a day. That’s around two thirds to one teaspoon of salt.
That’s the tricky part. It’s not only the salt we shake or grind onto our meals each day that we have to think about, but the salt that has already been added to our food before it gets to us. Some foods, in particular processed ones, are obviously salty – like crackers, potato chips and tinned soups.
• Processed meats (bacon, ham, sausages, corned beef, etc)
• Meat pies
• Instant noodles
• Takeaway foods
• Breakfast cereals
• Check the label. Low-sodium foods contain no more than 120mg of sodium per 100g of food. Foods that are high in sodium may have as much as 600mg per 100g of food.
• Leave the salt off the table. Often, adding salt is just a habit, and we do it without thinking.
• Eat fewer processed meats, such as sausages, bacon or ham. If you want meat for sandwiches, cook extra the night before and use leftovers. Or buy shredded chicken.
• As well as avoiding processed foods, cut down on sauces and salad dressings, which can be high in sodium.
• When you are cooking, try flavouring foods with herbs and spices so you don’t feel
that you have to add salt. Tasty options include garlic powder, nutmeg, cumin and lemon.