The diet to halve the salt

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Louise Hay

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In Spain, according to data released by the Ministry of Health, the consumption of salt is equal to 11 g per day for men and 9 g for women, about double (in the first case a little more, in the second a little less) than the 5 g daily recommended by the WHO, the World Health Organization.

The risks of this bad habit? Very many,: «Excess with salt forces the kidneys to overwork. These organs have the task of eliminating the toxins produced by our body, reabsorbing the minerals that would otherwise be lost in the urine. However, if the amount of salt is excessive, the kidneys they must also retain a lot of water: it is used to dilute sodium (one of the components, the other is chlorine, which is really dangerous for health) and prevent it from ending up in the blood in excessive concentrations ».

You will have noticed that when you eat pizza, raw ham or pecorino (all particularly savory foods), you feel the need to drink more. It is your body's defense mechanism. The consequences? "Fluid retention, increased blood volume (translated into simple words it means that there is more in circulation), with the possibility in predisposed people to have a spike in blood pressure and, in cascade, various problems related to it, including increased risk of heart attack and stroke»Explains our expert.

Ready food under fire

According to Istat data, i cardio and cerebrovascular problems (combined with ischemias and other heart diseases) are responsible for 35-40% of the deaths recorded each year in our country. Yet to tasty food even the vast majority of those with hypertension do not give up and should follow low-sodium menus. Only 19% of women and 9% of men do so.

We're bad cooks or else it is also the fault of the food companies who find it hard to collaborate? According to the Higher Institute of Health, in Spain over 50% of the salt we ingest every day is contained in foods consumed outside the home. In the dock ready-made, pre-cooked or industrial dishes. And then the stock cubes, the preserved foods, the cold cuts, the aged cheeses, the soy sauces, the snacks like chips and peanuts, the cereal flakes, the bread: everyone should go severely limited or eliminated. It has been calculated that if we followed WHO advice, the risk of having a stroke would be reduced by 23% and that of heart disease by 17%.

But not only that, many others would in fact be the health benefits: "Excessive sodium in the diet is also linked to a higher risk ofHelicobacter pylori infections, gastritis and stomach cancers, increased losses of calcium from the bones through the urine and therefore high chances of suffer from osteoporosis and suffer fractures, particularly of the femur. So why not adopt a "counter kitchen", made of used raw oil, aromatic herbs and spices capable of enhancing the original flavor of a food in an intelligent way? »asks Dr. Paloscia.

But you can make the right choice

Put together a low salt menu it is certainly not easy, but it is possible.

To do this, get used to read the nutrition label that is on food: «The amount of salt must be indicated by law on the most packaged products. Before putting one in your cart, compare it with others belonging to the same category: you will notice that the differences, in terms of salt, are sometimes noticeable », warns our expert.

«Then learn to think in portions. Arm yourself with a calculator and check how much salt is provided by 20, 50 or even 80 grams, that is, the quantity of that food that you actually consume. It may seem cumbersome at first, but you will see that in the end you will succeed instantly recognize what to buy».

Be careful though: they report the sodium content, so you have to divide the indicated value by 40 and multiply it by 100, because a hectogram of salt is made up of about 40 g of sodium and 60 g of chlorine.

"Then when you're in the kitchen, try gradually add less salt (and always iodized) to your recipes, in order to accustom your palate and that of your family members to a healthier flavor. Instead, flavor foods with fresh aromatic herbs and spices, among other things rich in substances that slow down the aging of cells. AND increase the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables: in fact, they supply potassium, the sodium antagonist that helps regulate blood pressure values ​​”, once again urges Dr. Riccardo Paloscia.



• 1/2 glass of whole or low-fat milk to taste (according to your tastes or needs)

• 2 slices of Tuscan bread with 1 tablespoon of jam

• 1 fresh fruit (apple or banana or kiwi)

• 1 coffee, 1 tea or 1 herbal tea with little sugar or, better still, without

Snack in the morning

• 1/2 glass of latte macchiato (whole or low-fat, to taste, without sweeteners) or 1 white or fruit yogurt, free of added sugar

Snack in the afternoon

• Fresh seasonal fruit: 1 apple, pear or orange, 1 bowl of strawberries, 1 slice of pineapple



• 1 portion of lasagna with vegetable ragout with celery, carrots and Tropea red onions, prepared without using salt

• Salad of cherry tomatoes (rich in natural glutamate) and rocket, dressed with extra virgin olive oil and apple vinegar or with oil and lemon


• 70 g of red rice

• Vaccine ricotta

• Zucchini with saffron

• Raw vegetables at will, dressed with extra virgin olive oil and apple vinegar or with oil and lemon



• 60 g of wholemeal rigatoni seasoned with mint and chilli pesto (or with turmeric, if you don't like spicy)

• 1 slice of chicken breast cooked in a pan with extra virgin olive oil and rosemary

• Grilled vegetables with raw extra virgin olive oil, garlic and chilli


• Puree of broad beans and chicory, dressed with raw extra virgin olive oil and chilli

• Tomatoes, oregano and 1 hard-boiled egg



• Anchovies alla Tropea: cooked in the oven without oil and then mixed with thin red onions and chilli oil

• Salad of mixed raw vegetables cut into julienne strips and seasoned with spices to taste and 1 tablespoon of low-fat white yogurt


• Vegetable puree flavored with basil with a handful of brown rice

• Boiled curry cauliflower



• Franciscan Panzanella, prepared with dry Tuscan bread, soaked with a little water, celery, cherry tomatoes, onion, basil, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil

• Turkey stew in white wine, with spices and without oil


• Vegetable flan flavored with 1 teaspoon of grated Parmesan cheese

• Zucchini boiled and seasoned with mint and chilli pepper extra virgin olive oil



• Tomato salad with low-sodium tuna fillets in oil

• 1 slice of Tuscan bread, toasted in a pan and flavored with 1 teaspoon of raw extra virgin olive oil


• Soup of legumes and mixed cereals, cooked with the addition of 1 bay leaf or 1 sprig of rosemary and seasoned with 1 teaspoon of raw extra virgin olive oil and 1 pinch of black pepper or chilli



• 60 g of brown rice dressed with fresh tomatoes and 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil

• Boiled cannellini beans, flavored with extra virgin olive oil and a little pepper or other spices to taste


• Baked vegetables with 1 sprig of rosemary or sage herb

• Vaccine mozzarella

• 1 slice of Tuscan bread, toasted in a pan or in the oven and seasoned with 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil added raw



• 70 g of wholemeal spaghetti topped with a little beaten egg, pan-cooked zucchini, thyme, marjoram and a little extra virgin olive oil

• Raw fennel salad, dressed with oil and lemon


• Sliced ​​beef with rocket

• Songino salad, green apples and walnut kernels, dressed with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice or balsamic vinegar

• 1 slice of Tuscan bread toasted in a pan or in the oven

  • READ ALSO: The 6 foods that contain the most salt

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