Thursday, November 20, 2008

How Much Salt Should You Consume?

Do you think about how much salt you consume? According to Harvard Medical School, if you are under age 50, your blood pressure is in a healthy range, and your health is good, you probably have little reason to worry about salt intake. A lower-sodium diet is good for people who are older, who are of African American descent, or who have high blood pressure or Diabetes. These individuals should limit their sodium intake to no more than 2,300–2,400 mg a day. People with heart failure or kidney disease are advised to keep their sodium intake under 2,000 mg a day.

Keep the following in mind for healthy consumption of salt:
  • Watch processed and packaged foods. These varieties contain much more salt than what you would use if you were preparing something from scratch. That includes any type of food you purchase in a package other than raw meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, raw nuts, dried rice/beans/legumes, raw grains, spices, and other similar items.
  • Anything that comes in a can, jar, package, or box is subject to having salt added to it. Watch everything from canned soups and broths to boxed cereals, crackers, breads, and packaged meats (hot dogs, lunch meats, bacon), cheeses, sour cream, pickles, prepared drinks, etc. Even frozen and canned fruits and vegetables that claim on the package to be "natural" or organic have often had sodium added. You are better off eating fresh, but if you are purchasing frozen or canned fruits or vegetables, look for those that are organic and have the words "no salt added" and are as natural as possible. Above all, read labels! The type of sodium added to most processed foods is usually the cheapest, most processed variety as well, so use care and avoid these as much as you are able.
  • When you are purchasing salt to add to foods, be certain to look for a good mineral salt that has been refined as little as possible. Some crucial elements missing from modern diets are trace nutrient and minerals that come from untampered foods from nature, and salt. These trace minerals and nutrients are vital to health.
  • Always be certain to add the correct amount of salt for a recipe. If you are guessing, add a little and then taste. You can always add more salt if necessary, but once you put salt in, you cannot take it out.

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