Is salt really bad for you?
Thursday, 6 August · 2 min read

Your body needs a small amount of salt to function properly.

It helps to balance your blood pressure, balance the fluids in your blood and keep your nerves and muscles working properly. But there's a limit.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), eating more than 5g of salt a day can raise your blood pressure, and having high blood pressure is known to increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

As a guide, 5g is about 1 teaspoon, but that doesn't mean you should use this much table salt every day. A lot of common foods already contain salt, including bread, cereal, processed meats, packet soups and sauces, prawns and cheese.

So it's important to check the labels on your food to make sure you're not eating too much.

If you think there may be too much salt in your diet, you can try to cut down by:

  • swapping salty snacks for fruit and vegetables — keeping a fruit bowl nearby is a great way to cut down on temptation
  • not adding salt to your food at the dinner table
  • using less salt when you're cooking — pepper, herbs, garlic, spices or lemon juice can all be used to add flavour
  • making your own stock and gravy instead of using cubes or granules
  • picking low-salt options when you eat out or order a takeaway — for example, a pizza with vegetable toppings contains much less salt than a pizza with pepperoni or bacon
Quote of the day

Everything in moderation, including moderation.

Oscar Wilde, poet and playwright

Quick Quiz
About what percentage of your daily salt intake comes from the foods you eat?
Watch out for hidden sources of salt