Sat | Mar 28, 2020

Hide and seek! - Heart Foundation wants Jamaicans to lower salt intake

Published:Wednesday | March 11, 2020 | 12:05 AM

The Heart Foundation of Jamaica is urging Jamaicans to be mindful of their salt intake.

“The foundation takes this opportunity to urge Jamaicans to be mindful of their sodium intake, especially the hidden salts in their favourite products. Salt intake of less than five 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. We also encourage the public to add less salt to their foods while cooking or when at the table,” said the foundation.

The organisation joins the rest of the World in observance of World Salt Awareness Week, which is being observed March 9-15 under the theme ‘Hide and Seek’.

“In many countries, about 80 per cent of salt in the diet comes from processed foods. High sodium consumption of more than five grams (one teaspoon) daily contribute to high blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke,” said the foundation.

It added: “The food industry should therefore not be allowed to ‘hide’ so much salt in our food, with the responsibility for a healthier life falling unfairly to the public to ‘seek’ out lower salt options. We all know that we should be adding less salt to our food at the table or during cooking, but salt is also added to so many other products, such as bread, breakfast cereal, cakes, biscuits and sauces, and often we can’t taste it. When eating at a restaurant, it’s impossible to know how much salt is in the food, because chefs add a different level of seasoning each time they cook a dish”.

The Heart Foundation said information about what is in the foods we are buying should be easy to read and understand because, as consumers, we have the right to know what we are eating. The food industry, it noted, must do more to help us live longer, healthier lives.

“The Heart Foundation of Jamaica is calling on the Government to implement mandatory, easy-to-read and understand front-of-package labels on all packaged foods, which will assist our citizens in making healthier choices. We all have a role to play in building a healthier nation. What’s in our food? Give us the facts!”