Let’s talk about salt
It’s a good idea to cut down on salt during pregnancy as eating too much salt can raise blood pressure (although high blood pressure in pregnancy can also be caused by other things) and ultimately to a higher risk of developing heart disease or stroke.
Our bodies need some salt for healthy functioning - however adults and children in the UK consume more salt, on average, than the maximum recommendations of no more than 6 grams per day for healthy adults and 3 grams per day for children aged four to six years.
75% of the salt we eat is “hidden” in everyday food, such as bread, breakfast cereal and ready meals.
Top tips for reducing salt:
- Go for healthy snacks such as veg sticks, fruit and toast rather than crisps and other salty, savoury snacks.
- Swap ham and cheese sandwiches for chicken, or hummus and salad.
- Eat less cured meats and smoked fish as they can be high in salt.
- Choose tinned vegetables and pulses without added salt.
- Eat home cooked meals, as processed pre-prepared ready meals are often high in salt.
- Use herbs, spices and black pepper to flavour food during cooking rather than salt.
- Check labels and choose lower salt and reduced salt options - most food products now display a ‘traffic light’ label to help you make a healthier choice.
- Make your own stock or gravy – choose reduced salt versions of commercial stock cubes and gravy granules.
- Go easy on soy sauce, mustard, pickles, mayonnaise and other table sauces as these can all be high in salt.
- Keep salt off the table at mealtimes to discourage people from adding salt to their meal.