Salt is made up of two minerals – sodium and chloride. Only a small amount is needed in your diet for good health. However, unfortunately myths about salt make it easy to eat too much.
Myth (1) – Humans have always added salt
For most of human evolution we mostly ate low-salt foods found in nature. It was only in the modern industrial age that salt became cheap and widely accessible.
Myth (2) – Salt is good for healt
The vast majority of medical studies show that too much salt is unhealthy. It’s associated with high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney problems, gastric cancer and osteoporosis. The few studies that find the opposite are due to poor methods of research.
Myth (3) – Reduced sodium salt and sea salt are okay
The recommended salt intake to prevent chronic disease is less than 4,000 milligrams (mg) a day = 1,600 mg of sodium, which you can achieve simply by eating a healthy balance of foods. There’s no need to add any salt at all. Besides, sea salt is the same as regular salt.
Myth (4) – I’m okay if I just don’t add salt
Not adding salt is a great start, but high-salt processed products can push you above the recommended salt intake. These products include: tomato sauce and many soups, canned foods, fast foods, sweet foods like biscuits (sweetness hides the saltiness) and some cereals and breads. Once again, you should just eat a healthy balance of foods.
Myth (5) – Less salt means less flavour
There are many tasty alternatives to salt including: herbs, spices, pepper, chilli, garlic, lemon juice. In just a few weeks your tongue will adjust to a low-salt diet and your body will be healthier for it.