In recent years, salt has been at the centre of a public health controversy. Blamed for increasing the risk of certain diseases, health authorities strongly recommend you reduce your daily consumption.

Maïa Baudelaire, Nutritionist and Coach Slimming Expert in Food Behaviour offers some tips to help you understand the issues surrounding salt. Firstly, should we ban the salt shaker from the table?

Questions and answers to salt:

To what extent should we cut down on salt?

According to ANSES (National Agency for Food Safety, Environment and Labor) in France, the average daily consumption of salt is 10g per day for men and 8g per day for women. Meanwhile, WHO (World Health Organisation) recommends a maximum consumption of 5g per day, the equivalent of one teaspoon.

What is the difference between visible and hidden salt?

Visible salt is what you put on your plate or when you’re cooking. It actually represents only 10 to 20% of your total consumption. The rest comes from “hidden” salt. This is the salt that is naturally found in your food or added during their manufacture.

What does salt do for you?

Too much salt is bad for you but don’t try and completely eradicate it from your diet. Firstly, it is almost ‘mission impossible’. But it’s also important to remember that sodium is essential for the proper functioning of for your muscles, your kidneys and your heart. To ensure the proper functioning of the human body, you need to consume 4g of salt a day.

Why limit my salt intake?

The entire scientific community agrees that over-consumption of salt can be harmful to your health. It increases blood pressure and promotes water retention.

Which foods should I avoid?

The main sources of salt are through ready-made meals, bread, certain cheeses (hard ones), deli meats and some fizzy waters like BADOIT. But nothing should stop you from finishing your meal with a slice of bread with a good cheese. Just don’t abuse quantities.

Can salt prevent cramps?

When you exercise, the best way to prevent cramps is to hydrate yourself regularly with water rich in minerals. Choose spring waters or mineral waters.

Maïa Baudelaire’s advice to reduce your daily salt consumption

  • Leave the salt shaker in the kitchen. Always start by tasting your dishes before adding salt.
  • Use new ingredients to add flavour to your dishes. Try out new spices; mixtures of herbs or herbs of Provence.
  • Aperitifs with friends: Why not offer them a combination of raw vegetables? Cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks and cucumbers to dip into a colourful curry yoghurt sauce? It’s good, it’s fresh and less salty than your usual chips.
  • Look at the labels to compare the salt content of the different products on sale. Choose the less salty ones. Salt, sodium or sodium chloride are 3 terms with the same meaning. What is important to remember: 1g of sodium = 2.5g of salt.
  • 2At a restaurant, order Perrier or Salvetat that are naturally low in salt, or just a simple carafe of water.

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