Highlights

  • Salt is an essential cooking ingredient in any kitchen
  • Most people don't know how much sodium they consume, or the risks it poses
  • WHO recommends cutting daily salt intake from 9-12 gm to 5 gm per day

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Don’t pass the salt! How you’re eating way more sodium than you need

Even though salt makes food taste so much better, eating too much salt can be very unhealthy for your body.  

Do you know where salt is hiding in your diet?

The most common seasoning in any kitchen, salt is perhaps one of the most essential ingredients in your cooking. Even though it makes food taste so much better, eating too much salt can be very unhealthy for your body.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced a new benchmark on the consumption of salt or sodium for all countries. The global health body has recommended cutting daily intake from the current 9-12 gm of salt on average, to almost half, at 5 gm per day (or about a teaspoon.)

“Most people don’t know how much sodium they consume, or the risks it poses,” WHO’s Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.

The new WHO guidelines apply primarily to packaged and processed foods that pack the most amount of salt in your diet.

SEE MORE Your brain on salt: here’s how salty snacks affect your cognition

Here are some food items that are so high in sodium that they will make you want to give your salt shaker a rest!

CHEESE

A great source of calcium and protein, cheese is also big on salt content. Salt is added to cheese to enhance flavour, improve texture and elongate the dairy product’s shelf life.

PICKLES

Although it is great to eat some amount of fermented foods, eating store-bought pickles can really throw off your salt intake. These pickles add a hefty amount of sodium with the smallest of bites finishing anywhere from 50%-80% of your daily allowance.

COLD CUT MEATS

Processed deli meats are preserved with salt to add more flavour and to prevent it from going bad on the shelf. Also called lunch meats, just one serving of sliced deli turkey could pack nearly one-fifth of your recommended daily intake.

SEE MORE Table salt or sea salt: what’s the difference and should you care?

SAUCES

Many readymade condiments like sauces, spreads and salad dressings are jam-packed with sodium. Some brands even use sodium-containing additives like MSG taking the salt level even higher.

SALTY NUTS

While nuts make for a great nutritious snack, be careful about your salt intake when you open a pack of salted nuts. Depending on the brand and how much you consume, you could eat up your entire daily salt intake from these nuts without even realising it.

The bottom line is that many of us exceed our daily sodium needs which can raise blood pressure and cause fluid retention among many others. When in doubt, read the label before you eat the product.

SEE MORE How to debloat naturally after eating too much salt

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