Salt is the important component of the food we prepare to eat. The important question arises is how much of salt is too much? A recent study in the American Journal of Health Promotion estimates that 1.5 million cases of high blood pressure could be eliminated and over $2 billion in health care costs could be saved annually if Americans would reduce their daily intake by a mere 400 milligrams (mg) of sodium. Americans are consuming over 3,000 mg of sodium daily, way above the upper level recommended at 2,300 mg. While sodium comes from the salt (sodium chloride) that you use to season your foods, the majority of the sodium in your diet is from processed foods.
Too much sodium in the diet raises blood pressure and may increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The World Health Organization recommends that adults should consume less than 2,000 mg of sodium which is equivalent to 5 grams of salt per day. The reason they do so, is that sodium is believed to increase blood pressure, a common risk factor for heart disease and stroke. The major health organizations recommend that we cut back on sodium: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): 2300 mg (2). American Heart Association (AHA): 1500 mg (3). Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND): 1500 to 2300 mg (4). American Diabetes Association (ADA): 1500 to 2300 mg.
So there is definitely a consensus among these organizations that we should aim for less than 1500 mg of sodium per day, and definitely not more than 2300 mg. 1500 mg of sodium equals about 3/4 teaspoons or 3.75 grams of salt per day, while 2300 mg equals about one teaspoon and 6 grams of salt per day. Most people today are eating much more than that. The average intake of sodium is about 3400 mg, most of it coming from processed foods.
High-salt foods: The following foods are almost always high in salt. To cut down on salt, eat them less often or have smaller amounts: anchovies, bacon, cheese, gravy, granules, ham, olives, pickles, prawns, salami salted and dry roasted nuts salt fish smoked meat and fish soy sauce stock cubes yeast extract Foods that can be high in salt In the following foods, the salt content can vary widely between different brands or varieties. That means you can cut down on salt by comparing brands and choosing the one that is lower in salt. Nutrition labels can help you do this. These foods include: bread products such as crumpets, bagels and ciabatta pasta sauces crisps pizza ready meals soup sandwiches sausages tomato ketchup, mayonnaise and other sauces breakfast cereals Often at time, simple steps like cutting down on process foods and junk food can help reduce the salt intake. So, let’s take the step towards a healthier life.