Excess blood cholesterol becomes stuck in the linings of an artery, eventually the artery narrows.
HEART UK - The Cholesterol Charity
7 North Road
T. 0345 450 5988
Normal Helpline hours: Monday - Friday from 10am to 3pm
Dietetic advice available in Punjabi, Urdu and Hindi on Fridays
Download our diet diary for a simple way to record what you eat and drink. It will help you review what your weekly intake.
Cutting down on salt
There is no doubt that we only need small amounts of salt in our diet and that too much is bad for us. Adults need no more than one gram each day and children even less. But most of us are eating 7-10 times as much. This can have harmful effects on our health.
Raised blood pressure, like raised cholesterol, is a significant risk factor for heart disease and stroke. The higher your blood pressure the greater the risk. Eating too much salt can result in your blood pressure being too high. If you have high blood pressure cutting down on salt can help reduce it.
Stroke is a leading cause of disability and death in the UK. It is estimated that there are as many as 150,000 stokes and mini strokes every year. High blood pressure is the single most important risk factor for stroke.
Raised blood pressure is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, the commonest cause of death in the UK. Untreated high blood pressure can also lead to heart failure, making the pumping effect of the heart less effective.
Did you know that salt can also have smaller effects on our health such as:
Bone health - too much salt can increase the amount of calcium lost from our bones
Gut health – too much salt damages the delicate lining of the stomach making it more liable to infections
Kidney health – too much salt can increase the amount of calcium lost via the kidneys a factor that can influence the development of kidney stones
How much salt should I eat?
Everyone can benefit from reducing their salt intake. It’s not just about cutting the amount of salt you add to your food it’s also about cutting down on processed and packaged foods that are high in salt.
1-3 years - no more than 2g salt a day
4-6 years - no more than 3g salt a day
10 years - no more than 5g salt a day
11 years and above - no more than 6g salt a day
Check out our top ten high salt foods:
- Cheese or processed meat sandwiches
- Pot and instant noodles
- Foods tinned in brine
- Salted snacks
- Processed and tinned meats such as bacon, gammon, corned beef
- Cheese and cheese flavoured biscuits
- Table sauces and cook in sauces
- Yeast extract
- Stock cubes
- Smoked fish
You can find hidden salt in food yourself, its not difficult - use the handy guide below to check out your food labels:
LOW SALT - less than 0.3g/100g
MEDIUM Salt - between 0.3g and 1.5g/100g
HIGH SALT - more than 1.5g/100g
Ditch the salt, cook from scratch and spice up your food
- Use spices and herbs to add flavour to your food instead of salt
- Toast seeds, nuts and spices to bring out their whole flavour
- Use mustard to spice up recipes and salad dressings or use as a condiment
- Add fresh chilli, ginger and garlic to provide a bite to your dishes
- Use canned tomatoes and tomato puree as a basis for casseroles, sauces and soups
- Marinate fish or meat in advance to give them more flavour
- Use the juice from lemons or limes to squeeze on fish and shellfish
More information on salt and high blood pressure