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April 2014 - 1st Edition




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SALT: The Silent Killer larmingly, almost everyone in the UK eats too much salt. Currently, the daily recommended amount of salt in the UK is no more than 6 grams (just a teaspoon!), whilst the current average salt intake is 8.6g (with many consuming more than this). Despite the recommended amount of salt being 6 grams, those with high blood pressure should be actively eating less than the specified amount. Excessive salt consumption is one of the largest factors contributing towards high blood pressure; though high blood pressure may not seem as serious as other illnesses, it can be a root cause of heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, stomach cancer, osteoporosis and renal failure. Genetics can cause us to be particularly sensitive to too much salt and this is most definitely the case with South Asians. Various studies into South Asian health have determined that those of Indian/Pakistani/Bengali descent are at a higher risk of high blood pressure and coronary heart disease. Shockingly, South Asians are 3040% more likely to die prematurely from heart disease in comparison to the rest of the UK population and they are six times more likely to have diabetes than the average UK population. In spite of these worrying statistics, reduction of salt in the diets of South Asians is very limited. Whilst the majority of the UK consume (and exceed) their recommended daily amount of salt from processed


foods, in the South Asian population, almost all of the salt consumed is added during cooking or at the table. The astronomical amounts of salt that the community have • unwittingly incorporated into their diet is masked by the variety of spices that also go into the common curry / fried snack.

are listed, multiply it by 2.5 to get the salt level (1g of sodium equates to 2.5g salt, 2g of sodium equates to 5g salt etc.) Remember – a low salt food has less than 0.3g or less of salt per 100g

Sponsored by the Halal Food Authority

By incorporating the above into Zéna Butt, your day to day lifestyle, positive Information Officer, changes will most definitely be Halal Food Authority observed. While food may begin to taste slightly bland when you first decrease salt levels, tastebuds will gradually get used to this change (this can take up to three weeks) – so perseverance is key.

What can you do to reduce your salt intake? It is not necessary to completely eradicate salt from your diet – but by cutting the amount down you will be decreasing your risk of a whole load of health complications. Small changes can give you big results: • Quite obviously, don’t add salt to your food and cut down the amount used when cooking • Choose low-salt versions of popular table sauces (tomato ketchup, soy sauce, chilli sauces and mayonnaise can sometimes contain the same amount of salt as sea water!) • Pepper, herbs, fresh chillies and other spices can be used as salt replacements to enhance the flavour of food • Look out for 'green' on the traffic light label on product packaging for salt content • Cut down on crisps, salted nuts and Bombay mix • Just because something costs more does not mean it is better for you! Rock salt and sea salt are just as damaging to health as the common table salt • Do not be fooled when companies list ‘sodium’ rather than salt – it is a part of salt! If just sodium levels

For more information on health or if you have any comments or queries on what you have read please take a look at the Halal Food Authority’s charitable arm ‘Halal Food Foundation’ – /


Asian Express National - April Edition 2014  
Asian Express National - April Edition 2014