We’ve long used salt to add flavour to our meals and to preserve our food. But according to leading health bodies, Australians are eating too much. Read on to find out how much salt is too much, how it affects your health and tips for cutting back.
How much salt is too much salt?
The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recommends no more than one teaspoon (5g) of salt (sodium) per day, per adult. However, the modern Australian diet averages twice the recommended number, with many of us consuming up to 8g of salt per day. While this average is too high, our bodies still require some sodium to stay healthy. It’s important to understand how a salty diet affects your health and what you can do to strike the right balance.
Read more: Eating for a healthy heart
How does salt affect your health?
It’s all about your blood pressure. Our bodies need sodium, a compound found in salt, to help regulate and circulate blood and other fluids. However, eating too much salt is linked to high blood pressure, which can have a negative effect on our health. It’s a significant risk factor for a number of chronic conditions like heart disease and stroke. The Medibank Better Health Index showed in 2017, 15.3% of Australians had high blood pressure. And while many people think that high blood pressure only affects older people, it affects young Australians too. Of Australians aged 18-24, 41,000 had high blood pressure, and of those aged 25-34, 86,000 had high blood pressure.