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Good Food Good Health-Salt
Are you, like me, confused by the amount of information we have received recently about the amount of salt in our food and how it can affect our health. We are told that too much salt causes health problems, but then again, too little can also be harmful to our health
Salt consists of about 40 percent sodium and is a mineral, in almost all basic foods – from fruits and vegetables to common tap water, sodium is present in small amounts.
To maintain good health we all do need some sodium in our diet, but too much, and especially continuous high amounts cause high blood pressure, which greatly increases the risk of developing heart disease and strokes.
I believe more and more of us are aware of these health risks due to recent media coverage, but less well known is that it is also linked to stomach cancer and brittle bones. Water retention is also a side effect.
The latest information we have received is that consuming too much salt in the diet can give you ulcers, according to new research conducted. Ulcers affect the health of one in eight people in the UK, and salt has been found to help feed the bacteria behind most stomach ulcers, leading to symptoms ranging from mild burning sensations to actually vomiting blood.
Many of these cases are caused by the Heliobacter pylori bacterium, which tricks the stomach into overproducing acid, therefore causing ulcers and poor health. Researchers from the American University of Health Sciences found that high levels of salt cause genetic changes in this bug making it all the more powerful, and warned that we all need to learn about the health risks associated with too much salt.
The Food Standards Agency recommends that adults eat no more than 6g of salt, which is equivalent to about 2.5g of sodium. For children, obviously it varies by age as shown in the table below
up to 6 months – less than — 1 g — 0.4 mg
6 – 12 months — 1 g — 0.4 mg
1-3 years old — 2 g — 800 mg
4-6 years old — 3g — 1.2g
7-10 years old — 5g — 2g
Children over 11 years — 6 g — 2.4 g
An easy way to calculate salt from sodium is to multiply the amount of sodium by 2.5, this can be very helpful when calculating the amount of salt on some foods where labeling is confusing.
Naturally, parents should not add salt to children’s food and certainly not to babies, as their kidneys are unable to process high levels of it, and in fact too much of it has been known to be fatal in children under the age of one.
We are aware that for good health we should know exactly what salt we consume in our diet, but it is difficult today to know how more and more people today eat ready meals and processed foods, and these products do not always. have clear and accurate amounts displayed.
Food manufacturers add sodium to many types of food that we would never dream of containing it, or the amount, because apparently our palette “taste buds” have changed over the years saying that consumers expect this “taste” now. Our taste buds are generally a good guide to how salty our food is, but manufacturers also often use sugars in these foods that hide the saltiness and fool our taste buds!
Experts now say that generally only 6 per cent of salt is actually added to food at the table, 9 per cent is added during cooking and a whopping 75 per cent of everything we consume comes from processed foods and this includes bread, puddings and breakfast cereals. .
Health professionals have campaigned for clear labeling of the amount used in the manufacture of food and for greater awareness of the health concerns with eating too much salt, and I hope that after reading this article you will be more familiar with the health concerns attributed to high. salt consumption
So now we all have to get used to scrutinizing product labels, and remember not to confuse salt with sodium while doing so. A high salt product is one with 1.5g (0.6g sodium) or higher content per 100g of product, so something with a lower level is a much healthier choice, and obviously the lower the content the better for your good health.
If you are a fan of the salt cellar and regularly add it to your food, the best way to reduce this is to give your taste buds an alternative healthier flavor enhancer. There are many you can try, garlic is one, freshly ground black pepper is great, try using lemon juice or fresh herbs and spices to add great flavor. Chili is also another good one to try but is an acquired taste.
Another way to wean yourself off too much is to gradually reduce the amount you add to your food, allowing your taste buds to adjust.
Hyponatremia is a condition where someone has a sodium deficiency, and when this is left untreated, can cause dizziness, confusion and unexplained fatigue.
Hyponatremia is more likely to affect the elderly, especially if they use diuretics. Diuretic drugs are used to treat problems such as high blood pressure and heart conditions by reducing the level of excess fluid in the body, which can affect the body’s essential salt (or electrolytes) needed to maintain good health and vital functions.
Just this year, a marathon runner died not long after the end of his race, and the diagnosis was from drinking so much water that by urinating and sweating profusely, he lost too many body salts.
So there’s obviously a concern that some overzealous health-conscious people might cut back on too little salt and cause problems for themselves. Eating a healthy balanced diet is always best for good health.
So like me now, don’t forget to make it a habit to read your food product labels including bread whether you buy it from a bakery or a supermarket because it is always included in the ingredients, to make sure you eat only the healthy required amount. . I know this can be confusing and tedious, but it’s for our benefit.
Sandra and Ted Wosko
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