The conundrum of how to eat less salt but more iodine
Did you know?
Foods high in salt include: many takeaway foods, vegemite, marmite, pickled foods, soy sauce, chippies and processed meats like bacon, luncheon sausage and salami.
News in a hurry
Nutritionists say first focus on lowering your sodium intake, then take a look at ensuring you are getting enough iodine.
Table salt in New Zealand is iodised to ensure we avoid the damaging effects of iodine deficiency, which was common here before the 1950s.
While most of us should use less salt, ie, less sodium, in our diets, we also need more iodine – impossible task, or interesting challenge? Nutritionists say first focus on lowering your sodium intake, then take a look at ensuring you are getting enough iodine. Here are some tips to help you achieve both.
Tips to lower sodium intake
- Look for foods that contain <150mg sodium (Na) per serve. (Write this down and pop it in your wallet to retrieve when you are grocery shopping).
- Choose low sodium foods where they are offered.
- Use the taste test – add a little salt to your food and taste it before adding more.
- Find low-salt snacks you enjoy – fruit, unsalted nuts, plain, unsalted popcorn, yoghurt, biscuits and crackers low in sodium.
- Remember low fat options often have more sodium!
- Cook meals from scratch instead of eating packaged food.
- Eat more fresh and frozen foods. Sodium is frequently added to processed foods – sometimes in very large amounts.
- Use fresh herbs and spices to flavour food, eg, fresh herbs, garlic, mustard, coriander, lemon, mint, cumin etc.
- Cook food in minimal water or in the microwave helps flavour food so extra salt is not needed.
- Ask for no added salt when buying take-aways.
- Choose vegetables and fish in canned water without salt.
- Try weaning yourself off salt a bit at a time - it's easier to get to your goal.
- To be labeled ‘low sodium’, foods need to be,120mg/100g.
- Limit intake of sausages and salamis.
- Reduce intake of dehydrated foods, such as seasoning mixes and soups.
- Make bread at home in a bread machine.
Tips to increase iodine intake
- Eat out less often! Salt used in commercial outlets is generally not iodised.
- Eat seafood and food containing seaweed, like sushi.
- When you do want to add salt to a dish, always choose iodised salt.
- Fancy, and often expensive, sea salt and rock salts don't contain iodine. Throw them away!
National Heart Foundation: A guide to heart healthy eating
AWASH - Australian Division of World Action on Salt and Health
WASH - World Action Against Salt and Health