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A pinch of salt

Salt is the common source of the mineral sodium, which is important in the human body for getting the correct fluid balance in the body and blood, and for nerve transmission.

Sodium deficiency is very rare, as most foods have too much added salt. Sodium is present in small amounts in some natural foods. Just by cutting down on processed foods, you might dramatically bring down your salt intake.

Government guidelines recommend no more than 4g of salt daily for adults – this equates to about 1 teaspoon. With salt being included in so many foods like bread, cereals, crackers and sauces, you can easily go over your daily limit and therefore, there is no need to add it to food. The average daily salt intake in the UK is 9.5g.

Too much sodium is associated with high blood pressure and fluid retention. If you like your food to have a strong flavour, then you could use different herbs and spices instead of salt.

Potassium is a mineral which works together with sodium to maintain water balance in the body, and it is the ratio of sodium to potassium that is important rather than the exact quantities. The more sodium that is eaten, the more potassium is required. So, it is recommended to eat foods containing potassium daily. Sources of potassium are sweet potato, banana, dark green vegetables, halibut, salmon, yogurt, eggs, oranges, tomatoes and whole grains.

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