Salt is made up of sodium and chloride; two key minerals that play a fundamental role in several processes in the body. Of particular importance is the role of helping to regulate fluid balance and blood pressure in the body.
Sodium and water go hand in hand; if sodium goes somewhere in the body, water follows. This is particularly important in the context of kidney function, as sodium acts on the kidneys to reabsorb water into the blood. This increases blood volume, which places more pressure on the heart as it has to pump harder to circulate the larger volume of blood, increasing the risk of cardiovascular complications. Having constantly elevated blood pressure can also lead to vascular damage, further inhibiting blood flow.
So, with all of this in mind, how should you moderate your salt intake? One of the easiest ways is to use herbs and spices to flavour food. Adding cumin, coriander seed, turmeric and garam masala to a curry will negate the need for any salt! Adding chilli to some guacamole, as well as a squeeze of lemon or lime adds some acidity and flavour (you won’t even know the salt isn’t there!). Additionally, adding olive oil and balsamic vinegar to salads will add so much flavour, you won’t miss the salt, and adding basil, oregano, onion and garlic to a Napoli pasta sauce will make it seem like salt was never invented!
It can take a few weeks to become accustomed to a lower salt diet, but it is absolutely worth it for your long-term health. To find out more or how to best get your salt intake under control, book in with Carly, our dietitian.
References for further reading:
- Blood Pressure: Salt's effects on your body [Internet]. Bloodpressureuk.org. 2020 [cited 28 July 2020]. Available from this site.
- 6 things you thought you knew about salt that just aren’t true | Queensland Health [Internet]. Health.qld.gov.au. 2020 [cited 28 July 2020]. Available from: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-events/news/6-things-about-salt-that-arent-true
- High Blood Pressure and Salt [Internet]. Baker.edu.au. 2020 [cited 28 July 2020]. Available from: https://www.baker.edu.au/-/media/Documents/fact-sheets/Baker-Institute-factsheet-high-blood-pressure-and-salt.ashx?la=en