In the interests of your overall health, it’s helpful to know ways to cut down on salt. Your body needs salt but because of its ability to make food taste better, we often consume way more than our body can comfortably process. With these ways to cut down on salt, your body will be happier, ultimately leading to a happier you.
1. Eat Less Processed Food
If you follow an average/typical diet, then around three-quarters of the salt you consume will be from the processed foods you choose over home-cooked meals. Salt finds its way into so many processed foods from bread to salami. Eating less processed food and cooking a meal from fresh ingredients is one of the easiest ways to cut down on salt.
2. Read the Label
Another of the easy ways to reduce your salt intake is to be conscious of how much you are consuming. High-salt foods such as chips (crisps in the UK) and snacks like salted popcorn and nuts should be a treat. At the grocery store/supermarket, read the label for salt content. A low salt content food will contain >0.3g salt per 100g, medium is 1.5g per 100g and high is >1.5g per 100g.
3. Make Better Choices
No-one is saying you can’t enjoy a healthy diet eating processed foods, but you can help your health by making informed and better choices. For example, choose canned fish in spring water or oil rather than in brine (tip the excess oil away if you’re concerned about too much fat), opt for unsmoked bacon which is less salty than smoked, and pick less salty cheese; for example mozzarella is less salty than feta.
4. Get Flavor Clever
If we add salt to make food taste better, it follows that if we can find an alternative and the food still tastes great, we’re on to a winner. And don’t think it is just by using fresh herbs and spices that you can eliminate the need for lots of salt. Tricks like using wine to add depth of flavor to casseroles, stews and sauces is fab. You can avoid soy sauce by using a mix of sesame oil, lemongrass and coriander, and there are plenty of marinades for meat and fish that negate the need for salt.
5. Try Alternatives
These ways to cut down salt may be an anathema to you. That being the case, there is hope for you. There are salt alternatives readily available. They cut down on the sodium by creating a mix of potassium chloride and sodium chloride. LoSalt is a good one to try.
6. Eating out
Unless you eat at a restaurant run by a particularly-health conscious chef, you will generally find food you dine out on is more laden with salt than it needs to be. But you can still enjoy restaurant food. Just be wise in your choices. Avoid pizzas with processed meats, anchovies and olives. Choose pasta with vegetable or lean meat sauces rather than those with bacon and cheese, and order boiled rather than fried rice in Asian and Mexican meals. You can also ask for sauces to be served separately so you can control your salt intake better.
7. Get the App
I have searched high and low for a US version of this fantastic app but have been unsuccessful – I hope someone in the States catches on and develops one soon. Meanwhile, the UK, Australia and New Zealand can certainly make use of it. The FoodSwitch app allows you to scan an item at the store and it tells you about its nutrition. It then offers healthier alternatives. There’s a special Saltswitch mode which will inform you as to whether a food item is low, medium or high in salt content, and again, it offers alternatives.
If anyone knows of a US app similar to FoodSwitch please let us know as it has far more benefits than just being one of the ways of cutting down salt. Do you think you need to reduce your salt intake?