Article: PURSUE HEALTHY: Getting the Right Amount of Salt in Your Diet

Too Much Salt

Everyone at some point has been told by a health care professional to watch the amount of salt they use per day. Salt has been labeled as “Bad” by the majority of health organizations not because of the chemical itself, but because of the quantities of it we as Americans use daily.

How much Salt do I need

The FDA, USDA, AHA and several other health organizations have come to  a general consensus that no more than 2300mg of salt should be consumed per day with the low end somewhere near 1500mg. What these numbers look like will shock you. 1500mg, the low end of average daily salt intake is 0.75 of a teaspoon, while the high end, 2300mg is a single teaspoon.

What if I don’t use that much?

First off, before you jump on that bandwagon, take a day to measure out how much salt you use. Great, you’re under a teaspoon. Did you look at how much is in your food? As I stated, the major health organizations are not worried about salt itself, merely the amount that we use in addition to that which is in our food. The majority of your salt intake is in processed foods. For those who have been recommended to follow a lower sodium diet, avoiding processed foods can reduce your sodium intake.

Reduce or Remove

With a lot of what I talk about, too much of a good thing can be bad. A reduction in sodium may cause a reduction in blood pressure thus reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. On the other end of the spectrum, not enough salt wreaks havoc on our body as it is crucial to maintaining intracellular and extracellular fluids. Basically, how much water our cells hold. Our bodies CANNOT function without it so therefore; a middle ground is a must. Like a lot of things, moderation is best.

Solutions

When it comes down to measuring actual quantities, most people don’t need to go this far. As a fun experiment or part of a meal diary, tracking salt intake (or raw sodium on food labels) can reveal interesting information about how we eat. Most individuals can get by and stay in that sweet spot with a few simple tips.

If you’re following a low-carb diet, a sprinkle of salt on a few food items a day will probably get you all that you need.

Stay away from processed foods (duh). They are full of preservatives (salt and other chemicals) designed to let foods keep for longer periods of time. Long before conventional storing methods, meat was dry-cured using pellets of salt.

Add just enough to affect the food you’re eating.

Watch the seasoning salts.

Avoid processed and stored foods, this includes canned vegetables.

Practice moderation. As with most nutrition and exercise plans, moderation is sustainable, flexible and forgiving. Going to the extremes will give you the extreme results as well as the extreme problems. With all of my clients, I preach moderation and relative progression; everyone makes progress differently.