Next time you think a hit-and-miss meal could do with a touch of salt, try reaching for the spice rack instead.
‘More Herbs, Less Salt Day’, on August 29, aims to remind people of the negative impact of too much salt and highlight the many health benefits of herbs and spices.
It also aims to make shoppers more vigilant about their salt intake by reminding them to check the Nutrition Information Panel on packaged foods and consider the ingredients in their take-away and restaurant meals.
Like most things, a little won’t hurt – our bodies need sodium to work – however, too much could spell poor health and long term negative effects on your body.
Diets high in foods preserved by salt, such as pickled vegetables, salted fish and processed meats, have been linked to an increased risk of stomach cancer.
Too much salt can also lead to high blood pressure.
So, how much is too much?
You should try and limit salt intake to less than six grams of salt each day; this is about one-and-a-half teaspoons of salt.
Most Australian adults are ingesting on average 10 grams of salt every day, nearly double the recommended intake.
Takeaway, packaged foods and sauces are all typically high salt foods. By making more conscious choices when eating out, choosing fresh foods over processed, and by swapping salt for herbs and spices into your cooking, reducing your salt intake can be easy.
In addition to creating a delicious taste to dishes, herbs and spices can also offer additional health benefits.
Garlic is a good bang-for-your-buck item that provides you with a solid amount of flavour per clove, plus is thought to boost the immune system.
Likewise, a touch of curry powder can bolster up any savoury meal, including a wide variety of ingredients such as cayenne, mustard powder, ginger, nutmeg and loads of peppers and all the sinus-clearing goodness that comes with them.
Basil is easy to grow in our sunny climate and makes for a great addition to salads and other cooking. While boasting a well-rounded and versatile flavour, it has been heralded as having anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties.
So, whether you aim to build your defences against the end of the flu season, or if better health is always high on your agenda, get behind ‘More Herbs, Less Salt Day’ this August 29, and ditch the salt.