Thanks to its recent bad press, sugar is the first to go when it comes to embarking on a healthy lifestyle and diet, but what about salt? We know it’s not good to exceed the recommended 6g per day (for adults) as set by government guidelines, but according to Women’s Health, the average Brit ingests around 8.1g per day, and seemingly healthy foods could be to blame. Eating too much salt can raise blood pressure, putting you at risk of health problems like heart disease and stroke. But you need to be aware of your sodium intake too. Salt is also referred to as sodium chloride, and some food labels only show sodium content. According to the NHS, there is a simple way to work out how much salt is in the sodium figure: salt = sodium x 2.5. Adults should eat no more than 2.4g of sodium per day.
But, even if you’ve given up that liberal sprinkling of the white stuff on your meals, they could already be laden with it. In fact, Women’s Health reveals, supposedly healthy foods like sushi, rye bread and cottage cheese could be hiding more salt than your favourite bag of crisps. Here’s a round up of the main offenders:
Carrots and hummus is like the healthiest snack of all time, right? Think again, ladies. According to a survey conducted by the Consensus Action On Salt And Health (a.k.a. CASH), the chickpea-based dip is actually riddled with the stuff and in some cases, four packets of ready salted crisps worth. We. Are. Speechless.
Think you’re being saintly when you shun a pre-packaged sandwich in favour of some fresh sushi at lunch? Think again. Nori – the seaweed wrap – has a high sodium content anyway, while sushi rice is cooked with extra salt, adding up to about 3g per serving. And that’s without your soy sauce and wasabi.
Despite being a good source of calcium and protein, clocking up a whopping 28 grams of protein for only 160 calories, a serving of low-fat cottage cheese can contain almost 1,000 mg of sodium. Look for no-added-salt cottage cheese, or substitute with Greek yoghurt, which contains just 60 mg of sodium per serving.
Often, chicken has been injected with salt water to improve taste and juiciness, adding up to around 0.45g per 150g breast.
What? Could our Omega 3, protein packed breakfast staple really be bad for us? Apparently so, with up to 3.5g of salt per 100g. Try a cooked salmon fillet to cut down on your intake of the salty stuff.
The breakfast bad news just keeps on coming. Rye bread may be a regular feature on many a health food blogger’s Instagram feed, but it has 1.15g of sat per 100g.
According to Women’s Health, New Covent Garden Tomato soup contains 1.2g of salt per portion – more than double the amount in a packet of crisps. Most other tinned and fresh offerings are high in salt too, so homemade is the way forward.
Just when we thought going veggie was the healthy option when it came to burgers, it turns out that some more processed veggie burgers contain more than 1.1g salt per burger. Add in a dollop of ketchup or mayo and that number is only going to rise.