How many types of salt are there?
PDV Salt (Normal) Pure dried vacuum (PDV) salt is the most common and cheapest salt available in the market. It is generally harvested from salt mines and goes through a refining process to remove all impurities and natural minerals except sodium chloride. Iodized Salt Iodized salt is fortified with iodine to reduce iodine deficiency disorders among the general population. Sea Salt Sea salt is harvested from the ocean or sea from different parts of the world. It is produced through the evaporation of seawater under the sun at the shoreline. Its purity depends on the cleanliness of the seawater and usually contains trace minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, manganese and etc. Rock Salt Mountain-based salt. It may contain various trace minerals, depending on the source of the salt. Lake Salt Lake salt is a seasonal salt harvested from a clean and pure lake. Lake salt has no or minimal pollution. It is also organic and contains trace minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, manganese and etc. Low Sodium Salt A special formulated salt with a reduction in sodium and includes minerals such as potassium and magnesium, which work fantastically in the regulation of blood pressure.
What is the difference between salt and sodium?
Salt is the key source of sodium in our daily diet. A normal table salt contains more than 97% of sodium chloride. (1 gram of salt = 0.4 grams of sodium) (Mohan & Campbell 2009)
Where is the world moving?
Over the recent years, the world is moving towards a low-sodium and low-salt diet. Most professionals, including doctors, professors and dietitians, are convinced that Low sodium and enriched mineral diets (esp. Potassium, and Magnesium) are one of the most important modifiable risk factor for hypertension, heart disease, stroke and so on. Clinical studies and research have shown significant improvement of health by using low-sodium and potassium-rich salt. (Chang et al 2006; Yang et al 2011)
Salt & Health
How much sodium do I need in a day?
Sodium is required by our body in a very small quantity. A healthy adult needs approximately 0.5grams of sodium for daily body function (equivalent to 1.25g of salt). Please refer to the chart below for a greater understanding on this. (Mahan & Escott-Stump 2000)
Is there any limit for our sodium intake?
Yes. Our body’s daily tolerance level is about 2.3grams of sodium (equivalent to 5.8g of salt). Any amount exceeding this limit will put burden our body and increase the risk of hypertension, kidney problem, heart disease and stroke. Please refer to the chart below for a clearer picture on this. (Mohan & Campbell 2009)
How much of salt are we taking every day?
According to different sources, Malaysians are taking approximately 4-6g of sodium (that is about 10-15g of salt) a day. It also means that we are taking:
– more than 10x of our body’s daily requirement
– more than 2x of our body’s upper tolerance limit. (Mirnalini et al 2009; Malaysian Society of Hypertension)
Please refer to the chart below for a greater understanding on this.
What is non-communicable disease (NCD)?
Non-communicable disease (NCD) is a slow progressing non-infectious health condition or disease. NCD includes hypertension, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, cancer and etc. In the recent years, NCD has become a rising health concern for the world as more and more people are greatly affected by it. Below is a short summary of the causes of NCD mortality. (Ezzati et al 2002)
Cause of NCD Mortality Number of death Tobacco-used 5 million Overweight 2.8 million High cholesterol 2.6 million Hypertension 7.5 million
Why do I need to limit or reduce my sodium/salt intake? Is it bad for my health?
Studies have shown that excessive sodium intake in our daily diet is a major factor of HYPERTENSION, a.k.a. high blood pressure. The rise of blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and other heart-related complications. Hypertension is one of the most significant underlying factors for the number 1 killer in Malaysia and the world, which falls under cardiovascular diseases (CVD). (WHO; He & Gregor 2008)
Why is hypertension so alarming? What is cardiovascular disease (CVD)?
CVD, a.k.a. heart disease, involves the heart and blood vessels, such as heart attack and heart failure. Worldwide records, hypertension has caused 7.6 millions of premature death, 92 millions of disability, 50% of Ischemic Heart Disease (a common heart illness) and 2/3 of stroke incidents. (Mohan & Campbell 2009)
Can we reduced our risk of getting CVD by reducing our sodium intake?
Definitely! Too much of sodium and insufficient of potassium are associated with the increase of blood pressure. It also puts our health at a greater risk to CVD. Therefore, studies have shown that sodium reduction and potassium increment help in reversing the effect of high blood pressure and reducing the risk of CVD.
Minerals intake, such as potassium, magnesium and calcium, also help in reducing the risk of getting CVD. Some of these minerals are found in vegetables, fruits and low-sodium mineral salt. (Mervaala et al 1992; Houston et al 2008; IOM 2010)
Salt & Other Consequences
What are the long-term consequences of excessive sodium intake and health deterioration?
Every year, medical bills are increasing; more hospitals and dialysis centers are built to meet the needs; productivity and work performance are declining. These show that our health is deteriorating. Our health problem is not only affecting us, but also causes greater financial burden, social and mental stress for our family members, people around us as well as the government. (Chang et al 2006)
Study has shown that long term usage of low-sodium and high potassium salt has successfully REDUCED the CVD mortality rate and medical cost by up to 40%.
Recommendation & Solution
Is there any recommendation for salt intake?
The World Health Organization and Ministry of Health Malaysia recommend limiting our daily salt intake to less than 5 grams/day (1 teaspoon). One teaspoon of salt provides 2 grams of sodium. (Mirnalini et al 2009)
Who should reduce their sodium intake?
Everyone! Sodium DOES NOT discriminate age, race and gender. Prevention MUST start from young!! Taking less sodium from young will enable better control on blood pressure reading, thereby greatly decreasing the risk of getting hypertension at later stages of life. Hypertensive and high risk groups MUST be watchful on their sodium intake. (Mohan & Campbell 2009)
How do I reduce my sodium intake?
USE LOW-SODIUM SALT IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD COOKING! Low sodium salt does not only come with reduced sodium but it is enriched with potassium and other minerals. Low sodium and high potassium intake will help in the prevention of hypertension and its complications at a significant level. (Yang et al 2011; Houston et al 2008)
We also highly recommend restaurants, hospitals and catering services to use low-sodium salt or Fine FoodsTM Lake Salt Light in the preparation of meals.