- People should get used to eating less salty food for good health
- Hypertension patients need to keep their salt intake limited
- Eat salads and fruits without adding salt to reduce salt consumption
People with blood pressure issues are well aware of the fact that they need to cut down on their salt, more specifically sodium intake. Now, even people with no underlying health issues need to be careful about their intake of salt and sodium. Studies say that intake of salt does not harm health as far as you are not having more than twice the amount of recommended salt intake. This evaluation is a matter of concern in a country like India, where average salt intake is 10.98 gms in a day. This is way more than the daily recommended intake of salt by World Health Organization - which is not more than 5 gms in a day.
We speak to nutritionist Dr Rupali Datta about our daily salt consumption, which is quite high, and ways to bring it down. She says, "It is not recommended to eat more than half a tsp of added salt in a day. I call it added salts because there is sodium in almost every food."
Half a tsp salt is way lesser than what we Indians put in our food. People here are fond of eating so-called masaledar foods as their staple diet. But this seems to be quite bad for health. Dr Rupali says that people can learn to cut down on their salt intake in the same way they learn to cut down on their sugar intake.
The idea is to cut down consumption of processed and packaged foods to the minimum. Processed and packaged foods contain lots of salts and preservatives which can contribute to increased sodium levels in the body. This is especially going to be harmful for people with high blood pressure.
One reason why salt intake is high in India is because of the tropical climate, where people lose a lot of salt in the form of sweating. Talking about ways to cut down salt intake and how to develop the taste of less-salty food, Dr Rupali says, "You can begin with adding lesser salt to your everyday food. Avoid table salt as much as possible. People who have family history of diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes, should get used to eating food with less salt."
The habit of eating less salt can be inculcated during childhood itself. Avoid feeding children with any processed or packaged foods, because these are the main culprits behind more salt and sugar in your diet. "Expose your children expose to natural flavours only. Read labels before buying packaged foods and check for their salt and sodium and content." says Dr Rupali while adding that we should try eating salads and fruits without adding salt. 80 to 90% of your diet should be fresh fruits and vegetables.
(Dr Rupali Datta is Consultant Nutritionist at Fortis Escorts)
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