YMCA Healthy Living Magazine, powered by n4 food and health SPRING 2019 - Page 19

SIAN ARMSTRONG APD Accredited Practising Dietitian, Sian Armstrong, works as a Food and Nutrition Advisor at the Heart Foundation. For the past few years Sian has been working on Unpack the Salt - a large scale salt reduction project involving consumer awareness, food industry liaison and Government advocacy. BUSTING SALT MYTHS Busting salt myths with the Heart Foundation’s dietitian Sian Armstrong. alt has been part of the human diet for thousands of years, and yet for something so small, it can be hugely controversial. This is most likely due to conflicting information in the media, which has led to many myths and misconceptions. With Australians consuming nearly double the recommended maximum daily salt intake, it’s time to bust these myths once and for all. most Australians are consuming a whopping 9g of salt every day – that’s nearly double the recommended daily maximum of 5g! So even if you do reduce your salt intake, it is highly unlikely you will be consuming too little. By basing your diet on fresh unprocessed food, your body will get enough naturally-occurring salt, without overdoing it and putting your health at risk. Are gourmet salts healthy? I need more salt after I exercise to replace the loss. S This is without a doubt the number one question asked about salt. Gourmet salts like pink Himalayan, rock, and charcoal are frequently marketed as healthier alternatives to regular table salt, but in reality, all types of salt contain the same amount of sodium. It is the sodium in salt that can be damaging to health, so too much of ANY type of salt can lead to high blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. While gourmet salts do contain some minerals that table salt doesn’t, these minerals are present in tiny amounts. It’s much better to eat fresh vegetables to get these minerals rather than sourcing them from salt. Salt is natural and reducing it will hurt my body. The body certainly does need some salt to function, but only a very small amount – about 1-2g per day. To put this in context, You only lose a small amount of salt in sweat. Unless you are an elite athlete or exercising in extreme heat for more than an hour, drinking water and eating a regular meal is a perfectly adequate way to rehydrate. Food has no taste without salt. This is a misconception many people are adamant about, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Your tastebuds may have become accustomed to the taste of salt, but it only takes a few weeks for them to adapt to a reduced intake. In the meantime, there are so many delicious ‘salternatives’ you can use to flavour your food. Think herbs and spices like lemon, chilli, garlic, rosemary, or cardamom – the list is endless! Visit unpackthesalt.com.au for recipes, salternatives and more information about salt. SPRING 2019 YMCA HEALTHY LIVING MAGAZINE 19