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Salt and its properties

Salt – also referred to as table salt or cooking salt – is a compound of sodium and chloride (NaCl). One gram of cooking salt contains 0.4 grams of sodium and 0.6 grams of chloride. These two minerals play a vital role in our water balance, the nervous system and digestion. Too much salt, however, can be detrimental to our health.

Recommended intake of table salt

The Swiss consume most of their salt in bread and sausages.
Most people consume more salt than recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO); in Switzerland, the average consumption is around 9 grams of salt per day. The WHO recommends a maximum daily salt intake of 5 grams. Most salt is consumed through bread, meat and sausage products, sauces and cheese.

Salt and health: too much salt can be bad for us

For people who are predisposed to it, high salt intake can raise blood pressure. The assumption is that the risk of cardiovascular disease and kidney disease is increased by high salt intake. To lower the risk, it may be wise to reduce your salt intake.

How to reduce salt intake

In various campaigns, Coop has reduced the salt content in various food groups, such as bread and potato products. Coop strives to keep salt content as low as possible without compromising on consumers’ flavour expectations.
How to cut down on salt at home:
  • Use mainly fresh herbs, garlic, onions and spices such as pepper and paprika for seasoning.
  • Taste your meal first before reaching for the salt.
  • Use only a little salt in the cooking water when boiling pasta, rice or potatoes.
  • Where possible, give preference to lower-salt alternatives such as potatoes boiled in their skins, herb quark instead of hard cheese, grilled instead of smoked fish.
  • Only eat cured and smoked meat occasionally.
  • In your children's diet, prioritize low-salt food from an early age.

Different types of salt

Special types of salt such as Himalayan salt, sea salt or speciality rock salts are usually perceived to be healthier than conventional cooking salt. However, these salts also consist mainly of sodium chloride, and have no health benefits compared with standard table salts. In fact, as they are not iodized, the opposite is true: iodized cooking salt is an important source of iodine in Switzerland. For this reason, the use of iodized table salt is recommended.

Use of iodized cooking salt at Coop

In its own-label brands, Coop uses iodized cooking salt wherever possible. From a nutritional point of view, the iodization of table salt is important to prevent diseases caused by iodine deficiency. Iodine deficiency can, for example, cause the thyroid to become enlarged (goitre) and impede mental performance as well as concentration and intellectual capacity. During pregnancy, an iodine deficiency can cause permanent damage to the child. Iodizing salt to rectify iodine deficiency is considered to be one of the most successful preventive measures taken on a global scale.

Which foods contain iodine?

As well as iodized salt, marine fish and mussels are good sources of iodine.
We obtain most of our iodine from products containing iodized cooking salt. These include bread, sausage and meat products, and cheese and ready-made products. Iodized cooking salt must be declared. This enables people who, for medical reasons, should keep their iodine intake to a minimum to identify iodized products. For more about the labelling of foods, see the Shopping and storage section.
Most foods are inherently low in iodine. Marine fish and mussels are the exception to this: these are rich in iodine. Eggs, milk and dairy products contain varying amounts of iodine, depending on the feed that was used. They too can contribute to our iodine intake.