Less Salt, Less Pressure

A recommended amount of daily intake of salt based on the 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines is only 1,500 milligrams for African-Americans, people who are over 50, and those who have high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease. The maximum amount is 2,300 milligrams per day which is less than 1 teaspoon for everyone else including children.

Nevertheless, an average American uses between 3,500 and 5,000 milligrams of sodium per day. And, sea salt is no healthier than table salt. Reducing consumption of sodium can lower your blood pressure in weeks.

The following are suggestions from Carole Bartolotto, MA, RD, for a healthier, low-salt diet:

• Season food with lemon juice, wine, herbs, and spices instead of salt.
• Eat fewer processed, packaged, and canned foods.
• Cook at home more and eat out less often. Restaurant foods often hide high levels of salt— as shown in the table below.
• Eat more fresh foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, peas, and lentils.
• Prepare fish, chicken, and meats without salt.

The lesser amount of sodium you consume, the lesser risk you will have for heart attack or stroke. Train your taste buds to start taking less sodium in just a few weeks.

See how sodium can add up in these examples**:

6 ounces of chicken= 120 mg
2 cups of milk= 215 mg
3 slices of whole-grain bread= 450 mg
Double Quarter Pounder® with Cheese from McDonald’s= 1,350 mg
Panda Express Two-Entrée Meal with Orange Chicken= 2,340 mg
Chicken Caesar Salad at Costco food court= 2,680 mg
**Sources are nutritiondata.com, oroweat.com, and restaurants’ websites.

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