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How much salt per day?

Salt, one of the most popular seasonings that almost everyone has at home. Salt is not only very tasty in a dish, we also need salt every day. However, many Dutch (or Belgian) consume far too much salt every day. This brings us to the question: how much salt should you consume per day?

In this blog, we will discuss why we often eat too much salt, how much is healthy, how much is unhealthy and what the consequences are. In addition, it is also possible to eat too little salt, which can also have negative consequences.

How much salt can you consume per day?

The daily maximum amount of salt for adults is 6 grams per day. This sounds like quite a lot but spread this over a whole day and you'll be on it pretty quickly. The Nutrition Center has developed a table that shows per age group how much salt per day is the maximum. This is as follows:

  • 0 to 6 months old: less than 1 gram of salt per day
  • 7 to 12 months old: a maximum of 1 gram of salt per day
  • 1 to 3 years old: a maximum of 3 grams of salt per day
  • 4 to 6 years old: a maximum of 4 grams of salt per day
  • 7 to 10 years old: a maximum of 5 grams of salt per day
  • Older than 10 years: a maximum of 6 grams of salt per day
salt per day
Source Image: https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2021/10/21/10/31/salt-6728600_960_720.jpg

Salt and Sodium

The reason that salt is often spoken negatively is because of the sodium content. Salt consists of about 40% sodium. In other words, one gram of salt contains about 400mg of sodium. Sodium regulates, among other things, the amount of fluid in our body and influences our blood pressure. With an excess of sodium, there is a good chance that there will be an increase in blood pressure. This can be harmful to the body and can be prevented by not consuming too much sodium every day.

How much sodium can you consume per day?

Just like we have an overview of how much salt you can consume per day, there is also a similar overview for the amount of sodium. In principle, you can also find out by doing a simple calculation, since you now know that one gram of salt contains about 400mg sodium. Nevertheless, we offer here an easy overview.

  • 0 to 6 months old: less than 0.4 grams of sodium per day
  • 7 to 12 months old: up to 0.4 grams of sodium per day
  • 1 to 3 years old: up to 1.2 grams of sodium per day
  • 4 to 6 years old: up to 1.6 grams of sodium per day
  • 7 to 10 years old: up to 2 grams of sodium per day
  • Over 10 years old: up to 2.4 grams of sodium per day

How much salt per day do we need at least?

We now know that the maximum is 6 grams per day, but how much is the minimum? According to the Heart Foundation, the minimum amount of salt you should consume per day is around 1 to 3 grams. This is essential to ensure that your nerves can be properly stimulated and the muscles can continue to contract efficiently. In addition, this also ensures that moisture in your body is properly stored and removed.

We eat too much salt on average

A lot of the food we consume every day is processed. With processed food, you can almost always assume that salt has been added. Often even (much) more than you think. Just walk into your kitchen and look at the labels of your products. Many processed products contain quite a bit of salt. The vast amount of salt we eat every day comes from the processed foods we consume. The table salt that many people have at home also adds a significant amount of salt to this every day, but certainly does not account for the largest part.

Because we are so used to eating products that contain a lot of salt, we often add it during cooking, simply because we don't think it is salty enough. According to the Kidney Foundation, about 85% of all Dutch people consume too much salt every day! This is mainly due to all those processed foods. This brings us back to the question, why do so many products contain such a high amount of salt? You will read this in the next paragraph.

Salt as a preservative

So how much salt we eat per day is mainly due (or due) to processed foods. Salt is a very effective preservative, making it widely used in these processed foods. Many of the products in your fridge would already be moldy if they didn't contain salt. Just look at the label of your package of chicken breast or ham. The reason you can keep these for so long is because of the amount of salt that is added to them.

If you look at it this way, it suddenly becomes quite clear why such an enormous amount of people consume too much salt every day. If you do this for a longer period of time, it can just have negative consequences on your blood pressure. How much salt you eat per day is, therefore, an important factor for healthy blood pressure.

The amount of salt per day also depends on your lifestyle

Of course, there is a huge difference in the lifestyle of different people. For example, people who exercise a lot also lose a lot of sweat. You also lose salt when you sweat. If you exercise a lot, the maximum amount could just be a bit higher than the recommended 6 grams per day. The maximum amount you should really consume every day varies from person to person. This is of course not a license to continue to consume a lot of salt because you exercise regularly.

Do you doubt whether you are consuming too much salt per day and are you curious about what effect this has on your blood pressure? Then please contact your doctor. He or she can advise you on what to do.

How much salt per day is unhealthy?

The maximum recommended amount of salt per day is therefore 6 grams per day. Do you structurally consume more than this amount? Then you can just be unhealthy. As we have mentioned before, this also depends on your lifestyle, but usually, more than 6 grams of salt per day will be unhealthy. So try to avoid this, no matter how difficult it can be at times. If you read on, you will find a few handy tips to ensure that you consume less salt every day.

Eat less salt with these tips

Now that you know how much salt per day is too much, it's probably useful to receive a few more tips to make sure you don't exceed the maximum amount. By applying the tips below in your daily life you can ensure that you consume less salt.

Avoid ready-made products

Many ready-made products are packed with salt. Think, for example, of cans or bags of soups and sauces. You may even be shocked by the amount of salt these products contain. Spreads such as meats and slices of cheese also contain a lot of salt. You don't have to avoid this completely, of course, but you can make conscious choices about this. For example, choose to make your own soup with fresh vegetables. You can also make your own pasta sauce. Of course, this takes a little more time. You can also opt for less salty meats and different cheeses also contain less salt than others.

Read labels in the supermarket

This ties in seamlessly with the previous tip. The ready-to-use products often contain a lot of salt. By reading the label in the supermarket, you can make smart choices. Fortunately, there are more and more products that are made low in salt and are therefore a better option.

Buy low sodium salt

Would you still like to add salt to your dishes? Then choose salt with less sodium. Sodium is mainly responsible for the negative effects of salt. That is why the amount of sodium per day is at least as important to know as how much salt you eat per day. Salt that is low in sodium logically contains less sodium than normal salt.

Use fresh herbs instead of spice mixes

Spice mixes often contain a lot of salt. Therefore, try to cook more with fresh herbs instead of the ready-made mixes. This is often even tastier and therefore healthier.

Conclusion

The answer to the question 'how much salt per day?' is therefore a maximum of 6 grams of salt for adults. The minimum amount that you should consume daily is around 1 to 3 grams. If you consume less than this, it can have negative consequences. Consuming more than the maximum amount can also have negative consequences, especially for your blood pressure. Plus-minus 85% of the Dutch people seem to consume too much salt every day, so it certainly can't hurt to pay attention to how much salt you eat every day!

Frequently Asked Questions

We round off this blog with some frequently asked questions. Some of these questions have been answered before in this blog, but of course, it never hurts to end with an overview.

What is the maximum amount of salt per day?

The maximum amount of salt you can consume per day is 6 grams. However, most people will consume more than this amount. This is mainly due to how many processed foods we eat on a daily basis.

What is the minimum amount of salt per day?

To ensure that our body can continue to function correctly, we should consume at least 1 to 3 grams of salt daily. This is important for the nerves, muscles, and the storage and transport of fluids.

How much salt per day for high blood pressure?

Do you have high blood pressure? Then it can certainly benefit to consume less salt. In this case, we recommend that you contact your doctor so that he or she can give you more advice about this.

How much salt per day on a low-salt diet?

Usually, various hospitals advise eating a maximum of 5 to 6 grams of salt per day on a low-salt diet. Very special, because this is also the maximum that is used.


We only use qualitative sources, such as scientific (meta) studies, to provide the most accurate and reliable advice possible. Although our articles are factually substantiated, we always recommend that you contact a doctor or specialist in case of complaints.

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