If you still eat too much salt you might be at a health risk. Picture: Supplied

World Salt Awareness Week will be observed from the March 12 to 18, and The Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa (HSFSA) wants to highlight five simple changes that can help to achieve the global recommended limit of five grams of salt per day, which could potentially prevent 1.65 million deaths worldwide, from cardiovascular disease each year.

South Africans consume too much salt. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends limiting salt intake to no more than five grams per person per day; 5g = 1 level teaspoon.  

South Africans however, cook with salty ingredients, add extra salt at the table and choose processed foods with hidden salt resulting in them consuming on average 8.5g of salt per day.
Excess salt intake is directly associated with raised blood pressure which may eventually lead to hypertension. 

There are 5 simple changes that individuals can make to their eating and purchasing behaviour that will help in consuming less than 5 g of salt daily:

  1. Cut down gradually- gradually add less salt to your favourite recipes – your taste buds will soon adapt
  2. Flovour meals-use herbs, spices, garlic, ginger, chilli and lemon to flavour foods rather than extra salt
  3. Check food labels- when shopping to help you identify those lowest in sodium (salt) and look out for the Heart Mark logo which is an endorsement of the HSFSA!
  4. Remove slat shaker- take salt and salty sauces off the table so that younger family members won’t develop this salty habit
  5. Eat more fruit and vegetables-the minerals in these as well as whole grains, lentils, beans, and low-fat dairy, help to lower blood pressure. Remember to drain and rinse canned vegetables and beans.