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TIP: It’s Time To Consider Less Salt

red-mound-230
Anglesey salt, sold here under the brand
name Halen Mon, is evaporated from Welsh
sea water. Note that the crystals are square,
not round. Photo by River Soma | THE
NIBBLE
 

What’s the deal with salt, and why is the government trying to limit it in prepared foods?

Everyone needs to eat a certain amount of salt. The body doesn’t produce sodium (salt), but it requires it in order to perform a variety of essential functions.

Salt helps to maintain the fluid in blood cells and is used to transmit information in nerves and muscles, among other functions.

HOW MUCH SALT IS TOO MUCH?

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium (salt) per day. That’s one single teaspoon.

But the average American’s salt intake is more than twice that: 3,436 milligrams (mg) of sodium daily. Here’s more information from the USDA.
 
It’s not from the salt shaker, typically, but from the large amounts of salt hidden in prepared foods—packaged foods, take out and restaurant meals.

Whatever the source, nine out of 10 Americans eat too much salt, according to The Centers for Disease Control.

 
Starting today, the World Action on Salt and Health (WASH) is sponsoring its sixth annual Salt Awareness Week to gain worldwide recognition of the health risks associated with consuming too much salt. So today’s tip involves awareness and action.

A diet that contains more than that one teaspoon of salt per day is associated with high blood pressure, a potentially fatal condition that affects one in four Americans. While other factors, such as age, family history and race, play a role in your risk of high blood pressure, lowering your sodium intake can help significantly reduce the risk.

 
SALT IS “THE SILENT KILLER”

The more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure will be, leading to heart disease, kidney disease and stroke.

According to Consensus Action for Salt and Health, high blood pressure is the leading global risk factor for mortality, resulting in seven million deaths per year.

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

Thanks to LoSalt, a leading reduced sodium salt, for these tips.

  • Get checkups for adults and kids. Think you’re too young to worry about high blood pressure? Our 22-year-old intern has it; fortunately, it was discovered at age 10 in an annual checkup and she learned to watch her salt intake at a young age. According to the American Heart Association, 97% of children eat too much salt, resulting in a predisposition to high blood pressure.
  • Find alternatives to salty snacks. If you wait until you’re 40, your habits will be very hard to break. Children learn from what their parents eat, and this creates a cycle that that is hard to stop.
  • Cut back on processed foods. More than 75% of our sodium intake comes from processed foods—canned, frozen and otherwise prepared; condiments, mixes, pickles, soups, tomato sauce and any prepared meals. Check the labels of products and look for low-sodium versions. Better yet, cook from scratch—dried beans vs. canned beans (which have added sodium), for example, and fresh herbs to add flavor usually filled by the far cheaper salt.
  •   seared-yellowfin-tuna-maldon-davidburkefromagerie-230

    It’s not the salt you can see, it’s the salt you can’t see, hidden in purchased foods (prepared foods, packaged foods, restaurant meals). Photo courtesy David Burke Fromagerie.
  • Cut back on salt in your own cooking. Use half as much as recipes require, and see how you feel. Augment with a product like LoSalt (more information below).
  • Cut back on restaurant meals. You’ll never know how much hidden salt is in each dish. Single items sold by fast food restaurants can typically have 2,000 mg of sodium. If you need to eat out for convenience, ask for your protein to be grilled without salt, or head for a plate of sashimi with low-sodium soy sauce or a squeeze of fresh lemon.
  •  

    TIP: WHEN USING LOTS OF SALT IN THE KITCHEN IS A GOOD IDEA

    Salt can be used to extinguish a grease fire. Pour salt on the flames; never use water. We keep a large salt server with kosher salt on our stove to add pinches in cooking, but also to help in a crisis. (Yes, we also have a fire extinguisher.)

    ABOUT LOSALT

    LoSalt, a tasty alternative in the reduced-sodium category, has 66% less sodium than regular salt. This is achieved by using a ratio of 33% sodium chloride and 66% potassium chloride.

    As long as you don’t need to avoid extra high levels of potassium (e.g. endocrine or kidney disorders), this natural ingredient is a good filler. Consult with your healthcare advisor to be sure it’s O.K. for you.




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