Salt (sodium) intake is one of the most important causes of hypertension. Cardiologists often advise reducing salt as a way of dealing with hypertension. But where does salt in our diet usually come from?
An American study from the University of Minnesota suggests that at least for Americans, 70% of dietary sodium comes from foods prepared outside the home. Sodium found naturally in foods consumed accounts for 14%, and salt added in the course of preparing food at home amounts to 5.6% of intake. Saltshakers at the home table account for 4.9% of ingested sodium. The overall sodium consumption was more than 50% over the recommended amount.
These researchers gathered data from people from Birmingham, Alabama; Palo Alto, California; and Minneapolis-St Paul, Minnesota; aged 18 to 74 across diverse racial groups. While the sample may not necessarily be representative of our New Zealand population, the findings do remind us that one of the best ways of reducing salt intake may be to cook hearty meals at home, rather than spending money dining out.
Harnack LJ, Cogswell ME, Shikany JM, et al. sources of sodium in US adults from 3 geographic regions. Circ 2017; 135:1775-1783
Author: Andrew To