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Shake the Salt and Sodium For Better Health : Part One
Salty temptations, from chips to salted nuts, are everywhere. Most people are unaware how much salt is hidden in their kitchen pantry. So, it is no surprise then that most people consume twice the amount of sodium that is recommended.
Americans consume unhealthy amounts of sodium in their food, far exceeding public health recommendations. The problem with consuming too much sodium (salt) is that it increases your risk for high-blood pressure; a serious medical condition is avoidable and may lead to a variety of diseases. Currently, hypertension, affects one in three U.S. adults – nearly 75 million people aged 20 or older.
Salt: What Is Good For?
Salt is one of the most popular seasonings around the world. But, if you can remember your high school basic biology classes, salt is comprised of sodium and chloride. Specifically, table salt is 40-percent sodium by weight. By now, you should be aware that too much sodium can be dangerous for your health, but you cannot avoid it completely since some sodium is essential to life. In fact, sodium helps to maintain proper fluid balance in and out of cells, regulate blood pressure and transmit nerve impulses. That is why several popular sports drinks include a bit of sodium.
“Most Americans could benefit by cutting back on sodium. Whether you are doing it to improve your blood pressure or just to eat more healthfully”
In general, Americans eat about 1 ½ teaspoons of salt daily, which is more than double what is required for good health. Currently, the government guidelines are set at 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium. This is in contrast to Institute of Medicine recommends that healthy people need just 1,500 mg a day for good health, less if they are over 50.
Most of your sodium does not come from the table salt shaker. Rather, it is hidden inside common processed foods and restaurant meals. Gradually, food manufacturers are stepping up and reformulating their products to reduce the sodium content. If the manufacturers gradually change their recipes to include less sodium, it will allow everyone to get use to the taste of less salt in their foods. And, over time, consumers will be able to comfortably adjust their taste sensors to the lower levels of sodium.
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We provide knowledge & strategic direction to help solve your business problems and implement creative nutrition communications solutions. When you need the services of nutrition professionals, consider NutriTalk™, the nutrition communications experts.