You need some salt for good health, but most people eat too much. Australians now eat more salt than ever before. Eating too much salt may increase the risk of developing high blood pressure which is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke and chronic kidney disease.

Salt eaten in Australia mostly comes from processed and packaged foods, not just the salt added during cooking or at the table.

Sodium is part of table salt. This is why sometimes ‘sodium’ is used as an alternative word for ‘salt’. For example, in nutrition information panels on food labels.

Eating less salt

The taste for salty foods is something that is learned. It is possible to re-train your taste buds to get used to eating foods without added salt.

To eat less salt, try to:

  • eat mostly fresh food instead of processed food that has had salt added
  • choose no added salt, salt reduced or low salt canned foods, and packaged foods
  • use food labels to compare similar products and choose those with less ‘sodium’
  • in sandwiches, use canned fish or cook a little extra meat or chicken when preparing your main meal, instead of deli meats
  • use only very small amounts of salty sauces
  • add herbs, spices and other low salt flavourings, like no added salt tomato paste, to cooking in place of salt
  • avoid adding salt at the table.

Source: Dietitians Australia (formerly Dietitians Association of Australia).