Sodium, a component of salt, causes a rise in blood pressure. Limiting your intake of salt is a healthy move, whether or not you suffer from hypertension. The key is to reduce your intake of processed foods, since these are often loaded with sodium.
Quebecers love their salt
Quebecers eat an average of 3500 mg of sodium (or salt) every day. This is more than twice the recommended daily amount.
Recommended daily intake of sodium
Adults 50 and under 1500 mg
51 to 70 years old 1300 mg
Over 70 years old 1200 mg
The harmful effects of a high-salt diet
A high intake of salt not only significantly increases your odds of developing hypertension it also puts you at risk for other serious health problems:
Where is salt hiding?
- 77% of the salt we ingest comes from processed or prepared foods
- 11% is naturally present in food
- Only 12% comes from the salt shaker at the table or stove
The food industry adds large amounts of salt to products in order to enhance their taste and ensure their conservation.
Sodium Content of Processed Versus Unprocessed Foods
How to reduce your salt intake?
- Cook your own meals using unprocessed foods. You will be better able to control the amount of salt you eat.
- Limit restaurant meals, especially fast food.
- Read food labels and compare. Choose the ones with lower sodium content, ideally less than 100 to 200 mg per serving.
- Enhance the taste of food with herbs and spices.
- Salt is salt! Sea salt and flavoured salts, like celery salt, contain as much sodium as table salt.
- Limit the use of condiments, like ketchup, mustard, soya sauce, marinades and gravy.
- Remember that after just a few weeks, your taste buds will get used to low-salt meals.
Do you have questions about salt intake, hypertension or blood pressure measurement? Your family pharmacist can help. All you have to do is ask!