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Throw away your salt shaker today to reduce most of your heart health risks

by , 05 April 2013

It's hardly news that excess salt is bad for you. It's one of the reasons for the amount of high blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks in the country. Now, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi wants food manufacturers to use less salt in their products. But you don't have to wait until they comply: There are easy ways to make sure you're not taking in too much salt.

South Africans currently eat twice the recommended daily amount of salt, says The Mail & Guardian Online.
You’re probably among them, as you only need about half a teaspoon a day of salt for optimum functioning.
That’s why government is trying to regulate how much salt manufacturers can add to processed food like bread and crisps.
Your long-term heart health will automatically benefit from reducing salt in your diet…
Because new research published today shows that a “modest reduction” in salt consumption led to significant falls in blood pressure, which will in turn reduce strokes, heart attacks, and heart failure, says IOL Lifestyle.
The new restrictions would require a loaf of bread, which currently contains 9% sodium, to contain about 4.8% by 2016 and be down to 3.8% by 2019, adds The Mail & Guardian Online.
That’s why manufacturers have been told to decrease the salt in their food by increments, to get consumers used to less salt in their food over time.
This is also a great strategy if you tend to cover all your savoury food in a mound of sodium, as it takes just 21 days to break a habit, says FSP Health.
But salt added at the dining table accounts for just 20% of our daily consumption, says IOL Lifestyle.
Another way to eat less salt: Limit the amount of processed food you eat!
So 80% of the salt you eat has already been added to processed food like cheese, bread or pizza.
That’s why it’s a good idea to always read the label to find out how much salt has already been added to a product.
If you limit the salt shaker entirely and rely purely on the amount of salt you get from processed foods like bread and tuna, you should have exactly enough salt in your diet to function well, says FSP Health.
So make a habit of reading those food labels, and throw your salt shaker away today!  Your heart will thank you. 

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