CPS: Watch Your Salt Intake

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GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The main source of sodium in our diet is salt, although it can come from sodium glutamate, used as a condiment in many parts of the world, the Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour said on Tuesday.

Most people consume too much salt—on average 9–12 grams per day, or around twice the recommended maximum level of intake.

Salt intake of less than 5 grams per day for adults helps to reduce blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and coronary heart attack.

The principal benefit of lowering salt intake is a corresponding reduction in high blood pressure.  World Health Organization (WHO) Member States have agreed to reduce the global population’s intake of salt by a relative 30% by 2025.

High sodium consumption (>2 grams/day, equivalent to 5 g salt/day) and insufficient potassium intake (less than 3.5 grams/day) contribute to high blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Reducing salt intake has been identified as one of the most cost-effective measures countries can take to improve population health outcomes.

Key salt reduction measures will generate an extra year of healthy life for a cost that falls below the average annual income or gross domestic product per person.

An estimated 2.5 million deaths could be prevented each year if global salt consumption were reduced to the recommended level.

Highly processed foods are increasing in availability and becoming more affordable. People around the world are consuming more energy-dense foods that are high in saturated fats, trans fats, sugars, and salt.

At the same time, as their eating patterns shift, people are consuming less fruit vegetables and dietary fibre (such as whole grains), that are key components of a healthy diet. Fruits and vegetables contain potassium, which contributes to reduce blood pressure.

Salt in the diet can come from processed foods, either because they are particularly high in salt (such as ready meals, processed meats like bacon, ham and salami, cheese, salty snack foods, and instant noodles, among others) or because they are consumed frequently in large amounts (such as bread and processed cereal products). Salt is also added to food during cooking (bouillon and stock cubes) or at the table (soy sauce, fish sauce and table salt).

However, some manufacturers are reformulating recipes to reduce the salt content of their products and consumers should read food labels and choose products low in sodium.

The reduction of salt consumption at home can be achieved by: properly reading labels; not adding salt during the preparation of food; not having a salt shaker on the table; limiting the consumption of salty snacks; and choosing products with lower sodium content.

Gradually eliminate salt from your menu and spread the word, “Stop Salt – in your recipes and menu!”

For more information call CPS at 542-1122, 542-1222, 542-1322 and 542-1570; or emailsurveillance@sintmaartengov.org