Salt – how much do you need?

Many of us in the UK eat too much salt. Too much salt can raise your blood pressure, which puts you at increased risk of health problems such as heart disease and stroke. A few simple steps can help you to cut your salt intake.

You don’t have to add salt to food to be eating too much – 75% of the salt we eat is already in everyday foods such as bread, breakfast cereal and ready meals.

At Monkton we cook all our meals fresh on site every day and we have taken the salt cellars away from dining areas to make it easy for our customers to enjoy a lower salt diet.

Cutting down on salt lowers blood pressure, which means that your risk of having a stroke or developing heart disease is reduced.

Eating out: salt tips:

If you’re eating in a restaurant or cafe, or ordering a takeaway, you can still eat less salt by making smart choices of lower-salt foods:
Pizza: choose vegetable or chicken toppings instead of pepperoni, bacon or extra cheese.
Pasta dishes: choose one with a tomato sauce with vegetables or chicken, rather than bacon, cheese or sausage.
Burgers: avoid toppings that can be high in salt, such as bacon, cheese and barbecue sauce, and opt for salad instead.
Chinese or Indian meal: go for plain rice. It’s lower in salt than pilau or egg fried rice.
Sandwiches: instead of ham or cheddar cheese, go for fillings such as chicken, egg, mozzarella, or vegetables like avocado or roasted peppers. And try having salad and reduced-fat mayonnaise instead of pickle or mustard, which are usually higher in salt.
Breakfast: instead of a full English breakfast, go for a poached egg on toast with mushrooms and grilled tomatoes. If you do have meat, have either bacon or a sausage, but not both.
Salad: ask for dressings or sauces on the side, so you only have as much as you need. Some dressings and sauces can be high in salt and fat.

Salt and sodium in your food

Salt is also called sodium chloride. Sometimes, food labels only give the figure for sodium. But there is a simple way to work out how much salt you are eating from the sodium figure:
Salt = sodium x 2.5
Adults should eat no more than 2.4g of sodium per day, as this is equal to 6g of salt.

How much salt for children?

The daily recommended maximum amount of salt children should eat depends on age:

  • 1 to 3 years – 2g salt a day (0.8g sodium)
  • 4 to 6 years – 3g salt a day (1.2g sodium)
  • 7 to 10 years – 5g salt a day (2g sodium)
  • 11 years and over – 6g salt a day (2.4g sodium)

Making sure children doesn’t eat too much salt means we’re also helping to ensure that they don’t develop a taste for salty food, which makes them less likely to eat too much salt as an adult.

How much salt for adults?

Adults should eat no more than 6g of salt a day – that’s around one teaspoon.

 

A diet that is high in salt can cause raised blood pressure, which currently affects more than one third of adults in the UK. High blood pressure often has no symptoms, and it is estimated that in England about one in every three people who have high blood pressure don’t know it. But if you have it, you are more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. If you’re aged 40-74, you can expect to receive a letter from your GP or local authority inviting you for a free NHS Health Check, which includes a check on your blood pressure.