HEALTH bosses in Derbyshire are urging more people to cut down on the ‘white stuff’ to reduce their risk of stroke and heart disease during Salt Awareness Week, which began on Monday, March 26.
NHS Derby City and NHS Derbyshire County say there are a few simple ways to eat less salt – which can raise blood pressure and increase the risk of developing heart disease if too much is consumed.
Department of Health guidelines say that adults shouldn’t consume more than 6g of salt a day, the equivalent of one teaspoon. For children this amount is even less – and varies according to their age.
Seveny-five per cent of the salt people consume comes from pre-packaged food – with even breakfast cereals and bread containing salt.
Nishi Madan, health improvement principal for NHS Derby City, said: “We all need salt in our diet, but having more than one teaspoon a day is one of the key risk factors in developing stroke and heart disease because high amounts of dietary salt increases blood pressure.
“There’s lots of hidden salt in processed foods, particularly ready meals and takeaways, so simple tips like limiting your use of readymade sauces or making your own can make all the difference and help control the amount of salt that goes into cooking.
“Other tips we are recommending include opting for healthier salt-free snacks such as vegetables or unsalted nuts instead of crisps, bacon and cheese. Replacing salt in cooking with herbs and spices can also be a tasty alternative and it’s a good idea to keep an eye on food labels as the ‘green’ traffic light coding will tell you if salt content is low in individual foods.”
More information on reducing your salt intake and improving heart health can be found at the British Heart Foundation website www.bhf.org.uk.