Salt is one of the ingredients that is essential to make a good meal. About 17% of the salt we consume is also found in natural foods like fishes, vegetables and of course in processed foods. Other than nourish our food, this basic ingredient have proven to be quite useful. Salt has been known to used to preserve foods and dairy products in ancient times, and even till today, the refrigerator hasn’t been able to replace this method.
Salts are rich in minerals like sodium, calcium, iron and zinc. However, they are mainly rich in sodium. Sodium is an vital mineral that plays a role in many important bodily functions, including cellular function, fluid regulation, electrolyte balance and blood pressure regulation. 
Sodium is mostly found in processed and packaged foods like noodles, chips, frozen foods and fast food where salt is added during processing to boost the flavor.
Salt also acts as a binder and promotes tenderness in processed meats. Pure salt can also be used to soften water industrially. There is truly no doubt that salt has tremendous benefits, but then when taken in excess may cause severe damages. In this article, you will find out some healthy ways to reduce your salt intake. However, let’s briefly see why too much salt may be bad for you.
Why You Might Need To Reduce Your Salt Intake
It is medically recommended that adults aged 50 or below should have no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day. For those aged 51 or older, and for people with diabetes, high blood pressure, or kidney disease, the recommended level is 1,500 mg per day.  
Also, those with black African descent are especially sensitive to the effects of too much salt intake and have a higher risk of health conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke and renal failure. They are even advised to take below 1,500 mg of sodium per day. So if you are a Nigerian reading this, you need to particularly take note of your salt intake. 
Too much salt intake can increase the chances of developing kidney and heart diseases. Now let’s look at some healthy ways to reduce your salt intake.
8 Healthy Ways to Reduce Your Salt Intake
1. Prepare your meals yourself
First off, preparing your meals yourself helps you keep an eye on the amount of salt you consume. You need to regulate the amount of salt you put into your food, don’t keep pouring salt till your ancestors ask you to stop.
2. Read the content of food labels
Read the nutritional content of canned foods before buying, and if you must use them, rinse out the sodium content. Check the amount of sodium at the back of noodles or other packaged food. Going through through the content of food labels can help you regulate the amount of sodium you are consuming.
3. Use other alternative spices
Other than salt, there are spices you could still use to get your desired taste. Examples are ginger, garlic powder, bay leaf, onion, pepper etc. You can incorporate them rather than salt, especially if you’re older.
4. Use more vegetables
Use more vegetables for cooking especially fresh ones since they are low in sodium.
5. Use fresh meat
Try using fresh meat rather than already packaged one since they contain less sodium which is also natural.
6. Reduce your food portion
You can also reduce the amount of food you eat, as it also reduces the amount of salt to take in.
7. Exercise regularly
Engaging in exercise frequently also help in keeping the body fit and free from coronary diseases. One of the many health benefits of exercising is that you lose sodium when you sweat.
8. Eat foods with low sodium content
You can also eat foods with low salt or sodium. Some low sodium diet foods in Nigeria include, tiger nuts, potatoes, ofada rice (brown rice), eggs, milk, bread, Nigerian brown beans, homemade vegetables or bitterleaf soup.
These foods with low salt content not only reduces high blood pressure but also allow the medications to work effectively.
9. Drain and rinse canned foods
When you drain and rinse canned foods, such as canned beans and vegetables, it can help reduce sodium by up to 40 percent. This is because canned foods often contain added salt to preserve their flavor and freshness.
By draining and rinsing them, you can remove some of the excess sodium. It’s important to note that this method may also remove some of the nutrients, so it’s best to combine this with other low-sodium cooking methods, such as using fresh or frozen vegetables and seasoning with herbs and spices instead of salt.
Adults eat about 6g of salt per day, while kids still under the age of 11 shouldn’t consume above 5g of salt a day. Babies do not need to consume at all because their liver is still too weak to process it. The breast milk contains adequate nutrients in their right proportion for proper growth and development of your baby.
The main reason to which our salt intake must be controlled is to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and other coronary diseases. As salt contains high amount of sodium which retains water, lesser intake would mean less water weight. This means reducing the amount of salt we consume does not necessarily contribute to weight loss. I hope this article on the healthy ways to reduce salt intake could help you.