Library: Healthy Eating? Salt
Eating too much salt has long been linked with a variety of health problems including high blood pressure. The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) estimates that 75% of the salt we eat is already in the food we buy - primarily in processed foods such as ready meals, sauces, baked beans and pizza.
If you eat processed foods it is worth getting to grips with understanding how salt is listed on food labels as it is frighteningly easy to eat way more than is healthy. The recommended maximum amount is no more than 6g a day.
If you don’t eat processed food but have any concerns about the amount of salt that you use, weigh out 6g (digital scales are the best for this) so that you can visually see how much salt that is – it is a surprising large amount – and show any other family members who are concerned about high salt intake. If you cook without salt it is very easy to monitor just how much you use.
Whether you eat processed foods or not, your kitchen cupboard is likely to contain some form of salt. How healthy is the salt that you use? Check the label and you may be surprised to find that your salt contains food additives – these are usually added to help keep the salt free flowing but they do alter the taste and we know little about how they impact on our health in the long term. The most common food additives added to salt are:
- Magnesium Oxide (E530)
- Sodium ferrocyanide , also known as Sodium hexacyanoferrate II, (E535)
- Potassium ferrocyanide, also known as Potassium hexacyanoferrate II (E536)
- Calcium ferrocyanide (E538)
If your salt contains any of these consider buying a sea salt that is additive free (check your local health food shop) – they taste much better and, once your taste buds have adjusted, you will find you use much less.