Many of us don’t think twice when we add a dash of salt to our food. After all, salt is a flavourful seasoning and an essential mineral that your body needs. Salt helps your nerves to transmit impulses, balance your fluid levels and enables your muscles to contract and relax. But consuming too much salt can have serious consequences.
The Singapore Heart Foundation recommends that you keep your salt intake to only less than 2000mg per day, the equivalent of less than a teaspoon. Too much salt can lead to high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for stroke and heart disease. There are many myths surrounding salt and its connection to high blood pressure.
Below, we’ve rounded up 5 common myths to debunk, so you’ll be able to tell fact from fiction.
Myth 1: I’m healthy so I don’t need to worry
About slightly less than one quarter of Singaporeans aged 30 to 69 have high blood pressure. And many of them don’t know that they have it. Not everyone who has high blood pressure experiences typical symptoms. Even if you have a healthy blood pressure at the moment, consuming too much salt can result in high blood pressure in the long run. Thus, it’s a good habit to add only a little salt to your food and regularly check your blood pressure to ensure that you aren’t consuming too much salt.
Myth 2: I can’t do anything about my high BP
It’s never too late to change your habits and lower your blood pressure. Maintaining a diet low in sodium can reverse high blood pressure. Consuming less salt reduces your blood pressure and can bring it back to a healthy level over time. Additionally, a healthy diet and regular exercise may also help to reduce high blood pressure without the use of medication.
Myth 3: I don’t add salt to my food, so I can’t have high BP
Controlling your sodium intake goes beyond skipping the sprinkle of salt. 75% of the sodium you consume is hidden within processed foods such as condiments, canned food and sauces. When buying these foods, be sure to read the labels carefully and look for the amount of sodium added into it per serving.
Myth 4: Other forms of salt have less sodium
While many believe that salts such as Himalayan, sea or kosher salts contain less sodium, these ‘trendy’ salts are no different than regular table salt. All types of salt are made up of 40% sodium, so they count the same towards your total sodium consumption.
Myth 5: My food will taste bland without salt
It’s no lie that salty food is tasty and addictive. However, there is a myriad of ways to give your food a burst of flavour without additional salt. For instance, you can sprinkle garlic or onion powder (without added salt in them) to season your food before cooking them. You can also opt for fresh foods over canned ones as canned food usually contains a ton of extra salt. There are many salt-free seasonings available to make your food tasty without all the sodium that will increase your risk of high blood pressure.
Although high blood pressure is relatively common and can lead to a number of life-threatening conditions, the good news is that it’s both preventable and reversible. With that being said, it’s always important to speak to your doctor to assess your risk of high blood pressure and discuss proper steps of care if you do have it.
With the MyCLNQ telehealth app, you can see a doctor online in Singapore in the comfort and convenience of your home. Arrange for a video/tele consultation and take control of your health with just a click of a button! Plus, you can also filter through the nearest available doctors in the neighbourhood and skip long queue times for your consultation. If you need assistance to get to the clinic, book a private ambulance service conveniently through the app!