YMCA Healthy Living Magazine, powered by n4 food and health SPRING 2019 - Page 10

JUHI BHAMBHANEY, APD Juhi is an Accredited Practising Dietitian working across three clinics in Sydney. She believes in helping her clients improve their health through lifestyle changes rather than restrictive diets. dontliketodiet www.entwellbeing.com.au HOW TO SPOT THE SALT Dietitian Juhi Bhambhaney helps us understand labels and make the best choices to reduce dietary sodium intake. any people are aware of the effect of salt on blood pressure and make conscious efforts to avoid cooking with salt or adding too much at the table. These are great steps, but hidden salt in processed and packaged foods is where most of our salt intake comes from. Salt is added during processing because it’s cheap, extends shelf life and acts as a natural flavour enhancer. Since we have been consuming processed foods with added salt for so long now, our tastebuds have acclimatised to foods high in salt. M Firstly, let’s get the terminology right. Many people use the terms ‘salt’ and ‘sodium’ interchangeably, but technically, salt is made up of 40% sodium and 60% chloride. The Heart Foundation recommends that adults eat less than 5g of salt (2000mg of sodium) a day, to reduce the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart disease. For someone who suffers from hypertension, it is recommended that total salt intake be reduced to 4g (1600mg sodium) per day. Here, we outline five steps that will help you reduce your salt intake: 1. Identify foods that commonly contain added salt The first step is to identify which of the foods in our supermarket trolley (or on the menu) are likely to contain high amounts of added salt. Here are some 10 of the most common offenders, many of which may not taste particularly salty: } } Processed meats (e.g. sausages, smallgoods, tinned meat and fish, frozen/crumbed products and commercially marinated meats / vegetarian alternatives). } } Commercial stocks, soups, condiments (e.g. pickles) and sauces. } } Many kinds of cheese, dips and spreads (butter, margarine, Vegemite ® , peanut butter). } } Ready-made meals (e.g. from food courts, frozen, tinned and many restaurant and takeaway meals). } } Chips (both the frozen and the crisps variety), salted nuts and other savoury snacks. } } Bread, pizza bases, crackers and some muffins/cakes and breakfast cereals (yes, sweet foods can still be seriously salty!) 2. After those examples, it makes sense that we want to identify foods that are naturally low in salt. The following low salt foods will not break your daily sodium budget: } } All fresh fruits and vegetables and most frozen varieties. } } Unprocessed meat, fish, chicken, eggs and tofu – preparing these from scratch means that you’re in charge of how much salt is added. } } Dairy products like milk, yoghurt and fermented milk drinks. } } Dried legumes (or no added salt tinned varieties), unsalted nuts, seeds and trail mix. } } Whole grains (e.g. rice, oats, barley, quinoa, corn), rice noodles and pasta. } } All fresh and dried herbs and spices such as rosemary, parsley, oregano, ginger, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon and cayenne pepper (careful of commercial spice mixes that can be high in added salt). } } Cooking oils and fats like avocado and ‘no added salt’ nut butter. } } Coffee, tea and most beverages. YMCA HEALTHY LIVING MAGAZINE SPRING 2019