Halve Your Salt Intake: It Could Save Your Life
Don’t take this advice with a pinch of salt.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest estimates that more than 100,000 lives could be saved in the United States every year if people cut down their salt consumption by half.
Currently, the average American consumes about 4000 mg of sodium per day. Don’t blame this number totally on the salt shaker on your table—most of the sodium we consume comes from salt in processed foods and foods that are eaten outside the home.
Salt increases the flow of water in your arteries, thus increasing blood pressure. Raised blood pressure causes heart disease and can lead to stroke. These are among the leading causes of fatality among both men and women in the United States.
Here are some easy ways to reduce your salt intake:
Start by knowing your recommended daily intake of salt. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day — or 1,500 mg if you’re age 51 or older, if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease. And these are upper limits.
Gradually reduce the amount of salt you put in your food.
If you eat out at restaurants often, ask for your food to be cooked with low or no salt.
Try using lemon juice and herbs to enhance the flavor of foods, rather than sprinkling more salt.
Read the labels on processed foods. Processed foods include bread, prepared dinners like pasta, meat and egg dishes, pizza, cold cuts, bacon, cheese, soups, and fast foods.
Better still, avoid buying processed foods—increase your consumption of fresh fruit and fiber-rich whole grains instead. Take a few minutes to read this informative article on the truths and myths about salt. It could save your life.