More On Salt

According to Medill reports of Chicago, 9 out of 10 Americans are consuming way too much salt/sodium. This number has nearly doubled since 2008, when 50% of us were over indulging. Around 150,000 deaths a year could be prevented with a simple low-sodium diet. High blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease can result from high sodium diets

How Much is Too Much?
How much should we be consuming? Less than 2300 mg daily. This is slightly less than one tablespoon. The real problem is that this can easily be surpassed before you ever add any additional salt to a dish to increase flavor. If you have children you should really be concerned. Over 10% of American children have high blood pressure. They eat what you eat, and dietary habits formed early in life tend to last for the rest of your life. They are developing their taste for food based on what you feed them.

Where is it Coming From?
Chances are, you don’t realize just how much sodium is in your diet. Salt can sneak in your meals in some pretty unexpected ways. Bread, cheese, salad dressing, and ketchup are foods we don’t think twice about, but they can really pack a punch in the sodium department. As a rule of thumb, if the food was canned, jarred, frozen, bagged, or from a drive through-it probably has a lot of salt. If any of the following are listed in the ingredients, it defiantly has a lot of salt: Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Disodium Phosphate, Nitrate, Sodium Alginate, Baking Soda, or Baking Powder.

What Can I Do?
Some tips for cutting down the salt? Start off by adding more potassium to your diet. Foods like bananas and broccoli are high in the salt antagonist. Potassium works to counter act salt, so this will help your body start to get used to using less salt. You can season with many other things as well. Herbs and spices, fruit juices, and chopped fruit can add some panache to a boring meal.

The upside is this: after a few weeks you won’t miss the salt. If you stop adding salt to your food, and control your sodium sources in other forms, you won’t want the salt shaker! Take it from someone who knows, if you remove something you over-consume from your diet your body will readjust to the new flavor pallet. I have accomplished this by cutting down both salt and sugar. Now, if something has a little of either one I can really tell! You regain your ‘that’s too salty’ sensor once you stop overindulging. This is a benefit to you, as you learn what your body wants or needs to consume.

Consider these facts the next time you ask for a salt packet or reach for your salt shaker. Do you really need that extra sprinkle? Will it really improve the taste that much? One idea to break the habit: empty your salt shaker. When you mindlessly go to sprinkle your food you won’t have any result.

Tips For Managing Salt In Your Diet

The average American, as you can probably expect, is something of a salt connoisseur: on average we consume 3400 milligrams of salt daily, a figure that far surpasses the 2300 milligram limit advised in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This poses a serious issue for many people. While sodium certainly has its benefits – the element balances fluids, controls muscle contraction, and regulates pH levels – it can lead to harmful consequences if consumed in excess over a long period of time. Some of these consequences are well-publicized, such as heart issues, high blood pressure, and kidney disease.

Others, however, are not; salt consumption can increase the chances of Ménière’s disease and tinnitus, conditions both of which can lead to hearing loss.

Although a hearing loss cord blood clinical trial recently found that these issues can be countered through stem cell treatment, the fact remains that sodium is harmful for the average American at its current consumption level. But reducing our salt intake is easier said than done. After all, most of our foods contain salt and most of us are conditioned to desire the taste. So how can reduce lower and minimize our sodium intake in an effective manner? Here are a few tips:

-Take salt off the table. It’s one thing if we put salt in our meals from the onset, but many of us go the extra step and shake some extra sodium on our food while sitting at the kitchen table. The easy fix for this problem? Get rid of your salt shaker, or at least remove it from your dining area.

1) Cook more, eat out less. Processed foods and restaurant-cooked meals are, on average, far more salt intensive than a similar product cooked at home. As such, the extra time it takes you to cook in the kitchen could translate into substantial and immediate sodium reductions in your diet.

2) Substitute spices. We use salt so as to insure that our food doesn’t taste bland, but there are other products that can accomplish the same ends without the same consequences. Garlic, onion powder, thyme, oregano, and pepper are always great options in this regard.

3) Transition slowly. Sodium is not an addictive substance, but it nevertheless reflects an acquired taste that we desire more when our bodies are accustomed to higher consumption rates. This means that a gradual reduction of your salt intake can conceivably accomplish the ultimate goal – make you less desirous of salt in the first place. Such a move could stand to improve your eating habits for the long term.

Following these tips can hopefully help you reduce your sodium intake and bring your salt consumption in line with the dietary guidelines. Although sodium has its benefits, you probably can get those benefits without any added salt in your diet. As such, any reduction is an advantageous one – both for your heath and for the substance of your diet.