Even if you never touch a salt shaker, it doesn’t mean you’re not eating a ton of salt. You may be surprised at how many of the foods you eat at home, as well as the foods you eat out, are loaded with salt.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, our kidneys have trouble processing excess sodium, causing our bodies to retain water. That puts more pressure on blood vessels and makes more work for the heart. This can lead to high blood pressure (a leading cause of cardiovascular disease), heart attack, and stroke, among other things.
Our bodies need small amounts of sodium to function properly. For most healthy adults, current dietary guidelines recommend a maximum of 2,300 mg of sodium per day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, a maximum of 1,500 mg of sodium per day is recommended for those over age 51, African-Americans, and people with high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.
Avoiding the salt shaker isn’t enough. The key is to read labels on the foods we buy, and to bypass packaged foods whenever possible. As the infographic shows, sit down restaurants aren’t necessarily using less salt than fast food restaurants, so consumers should be aware.
Infographics courtesy of the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Main Post Photo: Jure Porenta, photographer | Hemera collection | Thinkstock