Should I stop salt­ing food?

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Is salt re­ally as bad for you as peo­ple make it out to be? I add salt to my meals, should I stop this? Thanks, Steve

Hi Steve. A small amount of sodium is im­por­tant for the body as it plays an im­por­tant role in bal­anc­ing the flu­ids and elec­trolytes in our bod­ies. This is of par­tic­u­lar im­por­tance with move­ment as we lose sodium through sweat. How­ever, too much salt in the diet is as­so­ci­ated with an in­creased risk of raised blood pres­sure (hy­per­ten­sion) for some peo­ple, which sub­se­quently in­creases the risk for heart dis­ease, stroke and kid­ney dis­ease.

How­ever, dis­cre­tionary salt con­sump­tion, or salt you add your­self into meals ac­tu­ally only ac­counts for around 10-15 per cent of an in­di­vid­ual’s sodium in­take. About 10 per cent of our sodium in­take oc­curs nat­u­rally in food. If you re­ally want to de­crease your salt con­sump­tion the most ef­fec­tive way to do this is by re­duc­ing your con­sump­tion of pro­cessed foods. Packet chips, noo­dles, sauces and take­aways tend to be laden with salt. Not to men­tion the ad­di­tives and preser­va­tives you’ll also avoid!

I’ve been do­ing a lot of gym train­ing lately and I found that when I get home I’m in­cred­i­bly hun­gry and more likely to make bad food choices. Any tips for howto pre­vent this? Thank you – Sharon

Hi Sharon. One of the first things I would look at is, whether you’re drink­ing enough wa­ter. Se­condly, if you are sweat­ing a lot you want to make sure your elec­trolyte bal­ance is main­tained so per­haps con­sider in­cor­po­rat­ing co­conut wa­ter into your day – be­fore you work­out or prefer­ably af­ter­wards.

Then you want to look at what you eat be­fore you work­out. A snack con­tain­ing healthy fats and pro­tein will help slow down the en­ergy re­lease, mean­ing you’re less likely to ar­rive home starv­ing. How­ever, if you know this is the case I would also en­cour­age you to be pre­pared – have some hum­mus with veg­eta­bles sticks, nuts, a bliss ball or a smoothie when you ar­rive home or, if pos­si­ble, have pre­pared din­ner in ad­vance (use a slow cooker or make some­thing on the week­end to have).

Salt you add your­self into meals ac­tu­ally only ac­counts for around 10-15 per cent of an in­di­vid­ual’s sodium in­take.

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