A recent research of HKU Stroke shows that stroke is prevailing amongst young adult. It also shows that high sodium (salt) diet is correlated to hypertension and projected 10-year stroke risk. Although sodium is essential in maintaining normal body functions, such as the nervous system and muscle movement, a high sodium diet increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases (e.g. hypertension), exacerbating stroke risk.
What is the upper limit of daily sodium intake for adults? Based on World Health Organisation, the upper limit of daily sodium intake is no more than 2000mg, equivalent to 1 teaspoon. Nonetheless, adults in Hong Kong exceed this recommendation by almost threefold.
How to lower salt consumption in diet?
Tips for cooking at home
Try switching salt to spices, garlic, ginger as condiments to enhance flavour, and use low-sodium soy sauce to lower excessive salt intake. Also, consider using fresh produce to make your own sauces instead of commercially packaged sauces, such as using fresh tomato sauce instead of ketchup, or pureed pumpkin and spinach to cook with pasta to reduce sodium intake.
Tips when eating out
Less-Salt-and-Sugar Restaurants, as well as EatSmart Restaurant provides tailor-made “More Fruit and Vegetables” dishes and “3 Less” dishes (less fat or oil, salt and sugar), offering the public more healthy choices when dining out. Besides, order dishes with less or no sauces, alternatively, request for sauces to be served separately to have a better control of the amount added into the dishes. Also, soup and broth of noodles are one of the top three sources of sodium amongst Hong Kong local’s diet, try not to drink all of the soup in the bowl of noodles.
Tips when shopping for grocery
Avoid choosing preserved foods and processed meats, as they are of high sodium content for an extended shelf life. Frequent consumption of these foods may increase risk of hypertension. Choose fresh produce and meats of low fat content. Also, when purchasing prepackaged foods, such as instant noodles and condiments, carefully read the fat, sugar and sodium content in the nutrition label for a healthier option.
To learn more on how to reduce sodium (salt) intake, and for more information about nutrition and healthy recipes, feel free to check out our HKU Stroke website https://www.stroke-en.med.hku.hk/
Detail of the research on young stroke:
Resource: Centre for Food Safety