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Mar 21, 2022

Research shows the link between salt and high blood pressure, but in the same breath, the body needs salt to function properly. It regulates electrolytes that allow the brain to traffic electrical signals through to the nerves and muscles. It also manages fluid levels, such as the total blood volume, which is linked to blood pressure. 

The recommended amount of salt per day is no more than one teaspoon for adults. 
Children aged:

  • 1 - 3 years should eat no more than 2g salt a day 
  • 4 - 6 years should eat no more than 3g salt a day 
  • 7 - 10 years should eat no more than 5g salt a day
  • 11 years and over should eat no more than 6g salt a day 

Children shouldn’t eat too much salt as their kidneys aren’t fully developed to process a lot of salt. Breastfeeding babies should get enough vitamins and minerals from breast milk. 

Short-term effects of a high salt intake include swelling of the face, feet and hands. Others become bloated because of water retention or become extremely thirsty after a salty meal. These effects subside shortly after quenching your thirst.

Long-term effects are life-threatening because too much salt affects your kidneys’ ability to remove water, which means your blood levels will increase and put stress on your body’s blood vessels. This then creates high blood pressure, or hypertension, and this is one of the leading causes of strokes and heart failure.

Here are tips to reducing your salt intake:

  1. Eat whole, unprocessed foods, and lots of fruit and vegetables
  2. limit processed, smoked, and salty foods and takeaways
  3. always check the labels before you buy a product
  4. use alternatives to salt like herbs, spices and garlic
  5. remove salt and salty sauces off the table so your family members don’t develop the habit

Bestmed Tempo nutrition plan

For a personalised nutrition plan, Bestmed members need only complete their free Health Assessment at any Dis-Chem, Clicks, Van Heerden, or Alpha Pharm, or Sparkport Pharmacy to unlock their Bestmed Tempo wellness programme benefit of three nutrition journey consultations with a network dietitian per member/dependant 16 years and older.

References

Heart Foundation. (2018, March 12). Salt in everyday foods. Retrieved from Heart Foundation: https://www.heartfoundation.org.nz/about-us/news/blogs/salt-in-everyday-foods
nhs. (n.d.). Salt Nutrition. Retrieved from nhs: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/salt-nutrition/
Roongpisuthipong, D. C. (2015, November 25). Dangers of consuming salt. Retrieved from https://www.bumrungrad.com/en/health-blog/november-2015/dangers-consuming-too-much-salt-effect

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