Lowering Salt in Your Diet PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 11 April 2011 23:05
taken from http://www.flickr.com/photos/stlbites/4377215378/sizes/m/in/photostream/ via creative commonsKnown as sodium chloride, salt helps maintain the body's balance of fluids. Salt also functions in many foods as a preservative, by helping to prevent spoilage and keeping certain foods safe to eat. But nearly all Americans consume more salt than they need, according to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The natural salt in food accounts for about 10 percent of total intake, on average, according to the guidelines. The salt we add at the table or while cooking adds another 5 to 10 percent. About 75 percent of our total salt intake comes from salt added to processed foods by manufacturers and salt that cooks add to foods at restaurants and other food service establishments.

Q. What are the health effects of too much salt?

A. In many people, salt contributes to high blood pressure. High blood pressure makes the heart work harder and can lead to heart disease, stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease.

Q. What is the daily recommended amount of sodium for adults?

A. The amount of salt in a food is listed as “sodium” on the Nutrition Facts Panel of food labels. The Dietary Guidelines recommend that the general population consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day (about a teaspoon of table salt). Most food labels shorten the word “milligrams” to “mg.”

Some people are more sensitive to the effects of salt than others. The guidelines also recommend that, in general, these populations consume no more than 1,500 milligrams.

These populations include;
  • African Americans
  • People with high blood pressure, kidney disease, or diabetes
  • People who are middle-age or older
The exceptions to this are people whose doctors have put them on a diet that requires even less sodium because of a medical condition.  Always follow your doctor’s recommendation about how much sodium you can have daily.

Q. What steps can I take to lower my salt intake?

A.
  • Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Consume foods that are rich in potassium.  Potassium can help blunt the effects of sodium on blood pressure. The recommended intake of potassium for adolescents and adults is 4,700 mg/day. Potassium-rich foods include leafy, green vegetables and fruits from vines.
  • Flavor food with pepper and other herbs and spices instead of salt.
  • Choose unsalted snacks.
  • Read food labels and choose foods low in sodium.

Q. How can I tell if a food is low in sodium or high in sodium?

A. The Nutrition Facts Panel that appears on food labels also lists the “% Daily Value” for sodium.  Look for the abbreviation “%DV” to find it.  Foods listed as 5% or less for sodium are low in sodium. Foods listed as 6% to 20% contain a moderate amount of sodium. Anything above 20% for sodium is considered high. Try to select foods that provide 5% or less for sodium, per serving.

Q. Are salt substitutes safe?

A. Many salt substitutes contain potassium chloride, which could be harmful to people with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease, and heart disease.  Check with your doctor before using salt substitutes.

Source: WebMD (2011), "Lowering Salt in Your Diet", WebMD. View the full and original article here.

 
More articles :

» Gene Linked to Autoimmune Diseases

Differences in the sequence of a single gene may be partly responsible for causing around 2% of relatively common autoimmune disorders including diabetes and arthritis.The gene codes for an enzyme called sialic acid acetylesterase (SIAE) that...

» Cytokines in Systemic Sclerosis: Focus on IL-17

Julie Baraut, Dominique Farge, Elena Ivan-Grigore, Franck Verrecchia, and Laurence MichelSystemic sclerosis (SSc) is an autoimmune disease characterized by progressive sclerosis of the skin and internal organ dysfunction. Cytokine production and...

» Kidneys: One Or Two, Kidneys Work For You!

You might not guess it, but the Kidneys are as vital to human life as is the heart.They filter toxins out of our blood. If these toxins were allowed to accumulate even for a very short time, they would kill us quite quickly. Even the normal minerals...

» Predictors Of Interstitial Lung Disease In Early Systemic Sclerosis

Introduction: The objective of the present study was to examine the association of baseline demographic andclinical characteristics with sequentially obtained measurements of forced vital capacity (FVC), expressed as apercentage of the predicted...

» arGentis Issued Key Patent Related to Treating Fibrosing Diseases by Induction of Immune Tolerance

arGentis Pharmaceuticals, LLC today announced the issuance of United States patent 7,718,765, entitled “Methods for Treating Fibrosing Diseases by Induction of Immune Tolerance." The issued patent, based on the seminal research of Arnold E....

» Alternative Strategies for Maintaining A Balanced Lifestyle

Research shows that a holistic lifestyle is beneficial to those with autoimmune disease. But let’s be honest: it can be difficult for anyone to keep up a perfectly balanced lifestyle — let alone someone with an . It’s great to take steps to...