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Salt Intake

Salt Intake

Too much salt is bad for you

  • Your body needs only a small amount of salt to be healthy.
  • Eating more salt than you need can be unhealthy as it can increase your blood pressure.
  • High blood pressure can cause heart disease and strokes.
  • High blood pressure and heart disease develops over many years.
  • Many people don’t know they have high blood pressure as one cannot feel it.
  • Your blood pressure should be checked yearly.
  •  You can keep your body healthy by starting to use less salt today.

Salt Intake

How much salt is too much?

  • You should eat no more than 5 g of salt per day.
  • 5 g is the same as one teaspoon of salt.
  • This 5 g includes the salt that you add to your food as well as salt already found in foods.

Where do I get salt from?

  • Many foods that you buy already have salt in them and this is called hidden salt. Often these foods don’t look or taste salty.
  • Examples of foods with a lot of hidden salt include
    1. Bread and breakfast cereals
    2. Sausages and other processed meats
    3. Stock, soup and gravy powders
    4. Hard brick margarine
  • The table at the back shows other foods high in salt.
  • We add more salt to our food when we cook and at the table.

Do I eat too much salt?

  • Many South Africans eat too much salt. In fact we eat twice the amount of salt we should!
  • It can be very easy to eat too much salt when eating normal everyday foods.
  • Half of the salt we eat is from salt added by manufacturers during the processing of foods.
  • The other half of the salt we eat comes from salt we add during cooking and salt sprinkled on at the table.

What is Sodium

  • Salt is made up of two parts ̶ Sodium and Chloride.
  • Sodium is the part of salt that can increase your blood pressure when you eat too much of it.
  • 5 g of salt is the same as 2000 mg of sodium.

Salt Intake

How to choose less salty foods

1. Learn how much salt is in food

  • Look on the ingredient list for these words:
    – Salt or any ingredient that contains the word “sodium”
    – MSG, baking soda or baking powder
  • If any of these words are in the first 3 ingredients on the food label of a food, it is likely to be high in salt.
  • The Nutritional Information Table on some food packets also tells us how much sodium is in food.
  • Use the simple table below to help you compare how much sodium is in 100 g of different foods:

Salt Intake

2. Look for the Heart Mark logo

  • Foods with this logo on are healthier choices and lower in salt than similar products.

3. Use salty foods less often

  • Fresh foods have less salt than processed foods.
  • Try using more fresh foods and less processed foods.
  • Use the table at the back to help you choose foods that are low in salt more often.

Download brochure here