Ask an Expert: How Much Salt Is Too Much Salt?
Q: How can I get enough nutrients in my diet without consuming too many calories?
A: Lily says...
Soup may be one of the most nutrient dense meals, yet is low in calories, satisfying and extremely nourishing. Not only does soup pack in a ton of vitamin and minerich rich veg, but it’s high volume and can help keep us fuller for longer.
One interesting study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that soup eaters on average tend to weigh less and have smaller waists than those who don’t eat soup!1
Vegetables & Vegetable Juice
Put simply, it’s easy to consume a 400 calorie cupcake pie within seconds, but to consume that same amount of calories as broccoli and you would be stuffed! Vegetables are low in calories yet come with a huge amount of fibre which has been proven to have satiating effects. You can also try vegetable juice for a low calorie but quick nutrient hit - try kale, cucumber, celery & ginger, or carrot and beetroot.
Q: I’ve been told to cut back on salt, do I need to reduce my intake and how can I go about cutting back?
A: Lily says...
Whilst salt (sodium) certainly plays a role within the body and is an essential component of the diet, eating too much salt can raise blood pressure, which can increase the risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
The maximum recommended intake of salt per day is 6g, yet on average we’re consuming 8g per day. A quick way for checking the salt content of your food is to read food labels. If a food has more than 1.5g salt per 100g then this product is high in salt, if the a product has less than 0.3g salt per 100g the product is low in salt.
Unfortunately, it’s also easy to fall into the trap of believing the marketing hype around so-called healthy alternatives such as pink Himalayan salt. A quick Google search will tell you that this pretty pink salt can cure all, which can lead to liberal use within our food. However, a lot of these claims are far from the truth and at the end of the day we must watch all types of salt intake.
Instead, try adding flavour to your food with spices and mixed herb, buy tinned pulses and vegetables without added salt, watch intakes of smoked or cured meats and always check and compare food labels.
Q: I suffer with bloating, what can I do?
A: Lily says...
The first step to manage bloating is to assess the way you’re eating. Mindful eating can be a great first step for helping to improve digestive health, focus on chewing thoroughly, eat slowly, and eat away from distractions such as your laptop, TV and phone.
Food intolerances such as a lactose intolerance may also contribute to bloating, the gold standard method for detecting food intolerances is to carry out a food elimination diet, which is best done under the guidance of a nutritionist or dietician.
Lastly, focus on minimising constipation by consuming enough fibre within the diet and taking regular exercise. Research suggests that a 20 to 30 minutes brisk walk several times a week can help to stimulate peristalsis within the gut and improve bowel function.
Lily Soutter BSc (Hons) Food & Human Nutrition, Dip NT