Salt has always been suspected of causing health problems if too much is consumed.
Recent studies have shed new light on how reducing salt intake can reduce blood pressure and ultimately the incidence of strokes and heart attacks.
Salt was originally discovered by the Chinese as a way to preserve food over 5000 years ago.
With the advent of refrigeration, salt consumption declined.
With the rise of consumption of processed foods in Western society, salt consumption has again risen to dangerously high levels.
The current average intake of sodium in the US is greater than 3400mg per day.
Current recommendations are to limit total sodium to 1500mg to 2300mg per day (the American Heart Association recommends no more than 1500mg per day for everyone).
75% of our sodium consumption comes from eating processed foods, not the salt shaker.
The USDA is asking the food industry to voluntarily act to reduce the sodium content in foods and implement mandatory national standards to lower sodium content.
Other countries including Japan and Finland have lowered their consumption over the past 40 years and seen significant reductions in blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks.
How can you reduce your salt intake:
- Pass up processed foods.
- Cut back on condiments.
- Beware of dressings and sauces.
- Opt for alternatives such as pepper, salt free herbs, and spice blends.
- Forgo fast food.
- Choose low sodium, sodium free, or reduced sodium products.
- Read your labels for the actual sodium content and add it up!
To stay healthy, try to reduce your total sodium to 1500mg to 2300mg TOTAL per day!