The Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH ) recently carried out a nutritional breakdown of an Indian meal – one you’d buy in the supermarket with rice, naan, and curry included. They found that some contained a whopping 20.5 grams of salt - that’s over three times the daily amount recommended for adults in Ireland.
The concern is that much of the salt we eat is not through choice but added to processed food. This means that it is increasingly difficult to cut down on the amount of salt we eat.
There is little information on the actual salt intake of Irish adults; however a typical British adult consumes on average 8.6 grams of salt per day. In the US, the figure is closer to 10 grams per day. So we could assume that the average Irish person is likely to have similar levels – what it boils down to is that it is too much!
But what’s all the fuss about salt – does it actually cause harm? Here are the salt facts:
Reducing salt intake lowers your blood pressure, which reduces your risk of heart disease and strokes. Research has shown that lowering salt intake is on a par with the health benefits of reducing cholesterol and stopping smoking.
Other research has shown that cutting daily salt intake by 5 grams could reduce the risk of strokes by nearly a quarter.
A good start is not adding salt at the table at all – it may take a bit of getting used to but after a few weeks you won’t miss it! Add other flavours to your food by using different herbs and spices.
Our biggest source of salt by far is processed food, so get savvy about reading labels and comparing different brands. It’s amazing the difference, and any manufacturer that is attempting to cut down on salt in their foods should be congratulated and supported!
Of course making your own is always best, as you know exactly what goes into the mix. See below recipe for Indian favourite, Chicken Jalfrezi.