Get Wise
about salt

Balanced intake of salt is essential to good health

What is salt?

The proper name for salt is sodium chloride as it is made up of these two naturally occurring elements.

The sodium part is what causes health concerns, and the World Health Organisation recommends that adults should consume no more than 2000mg of sodium per day, which is equivalent to 5g of salt – about a teaspoonful. Sodium is found naturally in many foods, such as dairy products, eggs, meat and vegetables, but in much higher levels in ready-made and processed foods. These “hidden salts” make up about 75% of the salt we consume. The first step to keeping your sodium levels in check and improving your overall health is to cut down on the “salty six” and eat more whole, unprocessed foods, fruit and vegetables.


Is salt the
bad guy?

Too much sodium in the body has been linked to high blood pressure (hypertension), which in turn increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.

Our bodies do need some salt, though, as it is one of the essential minerals needed to support good nerve and muscle functioning. In the recommended quantity, salt is an important mineral for optimal overall health.

Too much of any food can be negative for our health. Rather than singling out one “bad guy”, the key is to focus on your overall health through a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. It’s less about getting rid of the salt shaker or grinder on the kitchen counter or dinner table, and more about avoiding the salts hidden in foods that we don’t even think of as salty – taking control of your salt intake and keeping the choice in your own hands!


“In the right quantity, salt is an important mineral for optimal overall health”

salty 6

Eat these foods in moderation!

Be conscious of the amount of salt you are consuming in processed foods that you might not consider to be salty. Here is a list of some of foods already containing high levels of salt:

• Cold Cuts & Cured Meats
• Bread & Rolls
• Sandwiches
• Pizza
• Poultry
• Soup

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Potassium is an important partner to salt – many people have low levels of potassium, which is also a factor contributing to increased blood pressure and its associated risks. At the same time as lowering your salt intake, boost your potassium levels with beans, peas, nuts, spinach, cabbage, bananas, papayas and dates. Opt for unsalted nuts to control your salt intake! Try a low-salt alternative for seasoning food – they generally contain 50% sodium chloride (salt) and 50% potassium chloride.

potassium & iodine


Iodine is another essential dietary element that is needed in only tiny quantities. Found naturally in dairy, eggs, saltwater fish, shellfish and seaweed products, it supports the production of thyroid hormone, which helps the body use energy and keeps it working the way it should. Iodine deficiency can cause thyroid problems as well as retard the mental and intellectual development of children whose mothers were iodine-deficient in pregnancy. The simplest and most cost-effective solution, promoted by the World Health Organisation, is adding iodine to salt. Sea and table salts are iodated with small amounts of iodine to support optimal body functioning.

potassium & iodine


“Iodine is another essential
dietary element that is
only needed in tiny

The good news
about salt

Salt is an important and essential mineral in many body functions. At the recommended level of no more than 5g or a teaspoon a day, salt helps to:

• Control blood sugar by promoting insulin sensitivity, which decreases the risk of diabetes.

• Maintain the right levels of stomach acid needed for good digestion.

• Reduce stress hormones and improve sleep quality.

• Improve metabolism and encourage a healthy weight.

• Support a healthy thyroid function, which helps the brain, muscles, heart and other organs work efficiently and controls how the body uses food for energy.

• Balance hormone levels, helping the body to retain other important minerals such as magnesium and potassium.


keep it natural
keep it fresh
keep it real


want better results? make better choices!

• Choose fresh and frozen vegetables instead of canned vegetables. If you do use tinned vegetables, rinse them before use. The same goes for products canned or bottled in brine, like tuna, salmon, or even pickled peppers.

• Use fresh poultry, fish or lean meat, rather than canned or processed meat, including products like sausages, smoked meats or fish, and crumbed products.

• Watch out for frozen chicken (especially Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) chicken portions) that has been injected with brine – supposedly to preserve flavour and succulence. Not only are you paying for frozen, salty water but you’re upping your consumption of hidden salts.

• Check the health claims on your breakfast cereals – low-fat or wholegrain doesn’t necessarily mean less sodium. Just 100g of your morning cornflakes can count for half your daily salt allowance.

be label wise

Do you check your labels?

Food manufacturers must list the sodium content on the label, and many also indicate the actual salt content.

To see how much salt is in the product you’re buying:

Multiply the sodium content, usually given as per 100g serving, by 2.5.

For example:

Sodium content 0.8g/100g: 0.8g x 2.5 = 2g of salt per 100g

In the food label on the right, the sodium content is 25mg, or 0.025g, and so is well within the daily limit.


how much is
too much?

Now that you’re label wise, use this table as a guide when shopping.

Low salt Moderate Salt High Salt
0.1g sodium/100g 0.1g-0.6g sodium/100g More than 0.6g sodium/100g
0.3g salt or less, per 100g 0.3 – 1.5g salt/100g More than 1.5g salt/100g


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