We may choose a food precisely because we believe that consuming it is also part of following a healthy lifestyle, but we couldn’t be mistaken for a bigger one — here are some high-salt foods that you may not have thought were.
The WHO currently recommends consuming up to 5 grams of salt a day: failure to do so may increase your risk of developing stroke and heart disease. When the directive was issued last May, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Gebreesus spoke when it was made public, a lot of people don’t even know how much salt they consume every day. It could easily be the case with you too – find out about salty foods that don’t even show you how much sodium chloride you bring into your body while eating!
Hungarians love high-salt dishes
Unfortunately, it is no coincidence that in the folk tale the princess talks about her love for her father as much as salt: the arrival of many Hungarians is closely associated with a pronounced passion for salty taste. Data from the National Nutrition and Nutrition Survey for 2019 are not yet available, but data from 2014 show that we are importing many times as much salt as recommended by the WHO. Hungarian women consume 12 grams and men 17.2 grams of salt per day, a decrease from 2009, but still plenty. According to a 2009 study, bread accounted for more than a third of the adult population’s salt intake from processed foods, meat products accounted for nearly a quarter, and canned vegetables and pickles accounted for about 10 percent.
The benefit of our salt intake is processed foods every day, accounting for only 10-15 percent of post-salting. Of course, the fact that the salt shaker is not on the table with every meal also helps to reduce it, but as the above shows, we need to pay more attention to how our body gets too much salt.
Dishes with plenty of salt
According to the European Code Against Cancer, it can be surprising which foods are really high in salt. The organization has compiled the following list of foods that can lead to surprisingly high salt intake without your knowledge:
- Breakfast cereals
- Canned or bagged soups and sauces
- Smoked and matured meat and fish products
- Some canned vegetables
That soy sauce, bacon, chips, or pretzels contain a lot of salt is no longer so surprising, but not everyone would assume the above.
Fish sticks also contain a lot of salt: you can have up to 1.25 grams in ten decagrams, and with ten pieces of bread you can take in as much as 1.75 grams without thinking about it. Cornflakes are really surprising: ten pieces can add up to 2.5 grams of salt!
This is how to avoid salt
So it is also worth checking the salt content every time we choose processed foods, but it is best to minimize their consumption and, if possible, prepare the food we eat at home ourselves. According to the Hungarian National Heart Foundation, not putting the salt shaker on the table next to the plate or avoiding the above very high-salt foods, and buying reduced-sodium salt in the store also helps a lot in reducing salt consumption. Caution: sea salt is no different from the traditional, so we haven’t done anything to eat healthier by purchasing it!
To replace the salty taste, we can flavor our dishes with green spices, and it is also worth rethinking what we choose as a side dish. Steamed, grilled vegetables with as little salt as possible can be substituted for pasta or fries, and in general, it’s worth eating more vegetables and fruits, even as snacks, bypassing the world of salty crunches.