The five flavors of salt are the first, and the hundred flavors of salt are the first. As the most commonly used condiment in daily life, salt not only makes food more flavorful, but is also the main source of sodium ions in the human body and plays an important role in maintaining life activities.
But the era of “you have no strength if you don’t eat salt” is long gone. For children and adults, foods with high “salt” value are harmful to some extent.
Excessive sodium intake in children will affect intellectual development, height, and kidney function, and increase the burden on the cardiovascular system. If children do not control salt since childhood, they are more likely to have heavy tastes when they grow up. Excessive salt intake is an important cause of high blood pressure and increases the risk of death from stroke, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease. The “Dietary Guidelines for Chinese Residents (2022 Edition)” recommends that the daily amount of salt consumed by adults should be controlled within 5 grams.
However, there are a lot of “invisible salts” in life, and if you are not careful, you may fall into their “traps” and eventually lead to excessive salt intake.
Eating food that is not salty = food with low salt content
Salt is the source of most sodium. Controlling salt intake is essentially to control sodium intake. In the traditional diet, the main source of sodium is table salt. However, with the development of the food industry, various condiments and additives now also contain higher levels of sodium. Ignored high-sodium condiments include: MSG, soy sauce, bean paste, mustard, chicken essence, fermented bean curd, etc.
In addition, many processed foods are high in salt, such as bread, pizza, grilled chicken, sandwiches, canned products, etc. These foods can taste salty. There are also some foods that cannot be quickly recognized as salty in taste, such as dried noodles. You may think they are bland when you eat them, but in fact, salt has been added during the production process.
Even some desserts, such as cheese, ice cream, pastries, etc., add a lot of salt during the production process in order to improve the taste. However, the rich sweetness covers the salty taste and deceives the taste. Therefore, if you eat something that is not salty, it does not mean that the salt content of the food is low. You must be wary of the invisible salt around you.
High-salt foods in daily life are mainly concentrated in the following 10 categories: pickles, pickles, salted eggs, flour products, salted nuts, salted fish and shrimp and other seafood, processed soy products, potato chips and biscuits, canned products, seasonings, etc. .
When purchasing low-salt and low-sodium foods, read the nutrition label first.
When shopping, learn to read nutritional labeling, avoid high-sodium foods, and choose low-sodium foods.
First of all, foods with sodium content exceeding 30% NRV (Nutrient Reference Value) need to be bought and eaten less.
Many people will wonder, how to calculate how much sodium and salt is contained in food? In fact, it is very simple. When buying food, look at the nutrient reference value of sodium in the nutritional label. If the sodium content in the nutritional label exceeds 30% NRV, it is recommended to buy less and eat less.
Second, choose foods labeled with low-salt, reduced-salt or no-salt labels.
The national standard also makes very clear provisions on low-salt or low-sodium: the sodium content must be less than 120 mg/100 g or 120 mg/100 ml; the sodium content is ≤5 mg, which means it is sodium-free or sodium-free food. When purchasing food, it is recommended to look for these labels and choose packaged foods with lower sodium content when possible.
In addition, eat less snacks on weekdays, and it is best to quit snacks.
Parents should guide their children to eat less of the “hidden salt giants” in snacks, such as potato chips, sandwich biscuits, seaweed, jelly, etc., and try to arrange reasonable and rich meals to gradually wean their children off their dependence on snacks.
Here’s a trick to reduce salt without losing flavor
A healthy life starts with reducing salt consumption. Adults’ daily salt intake should be controlled within 5 grams. It is recommended that families use salt-limiting spoons and salt-limiting shakers to quantify the amount of salt when cooking, and then measure the amount of salt at each meal. Add dishes.
How to reduce salt without losing the delicious taste of food? You might as well try these two tricks.
■When cooking, different foods need to be salted at different times.
For leafy vegetables, salt can be added before the fire is turned off; for rhizomes, such as potatoes, lentils and other vegetables with a dense texture and not easy to taste, salt can be added when they are cooked until they are eighty or nine times ripe.
■No salt, no flavor reduction, spices to enhance the flavor
When cooking, you can add a small amount of lemon and other citrus fruits or wine, use fresh garlic and onions, or try different types of peppers, vinegar, etc. to enhance the flavor. Various herbs and spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, etc., are also good choices to enhance the flavor.
In addition, when dining out, in order to prevent sodium from exceeding the standard, remember the following points: Rinse water to remove salt; try to order dishes with less salt; eat less salty dishes; use less salty seasonings when serving your own condiments; pay attention to intake Potassium-rich fruits and vegetables.
In short, try to reduce the frequency of eating out and ordering takeout, or actively ask restaurants to use less salt and choose low-salt dishes.
(The author is Han Ting, chief physician of the Clinical Nutrition Department of Shanghai Tenth People’s Hospital)