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Too much salt!

Posted by Davbmn on 02/01/07 at 02:44 PM

saltWestern diet too high in salt for good health

The most common source of our sodium intake is SodiumChloride (table salt).  Salt is the cheapest and most widely used preservative on the planet.  We use it everyday to add flavor to our foods. Table salt is about 40% sodium.  One tablespoon of salt contains 2300 mg of sodium. Sodium is an essential mineral or micronutrient which along with potassium helps to regulate the body’s fluid balance.  Sodium is present throughout the body even in the blood.

The Western diet is very high in sodium. The average intake in the United States is between 4,000 and 5,000 mg of sodium per day.  Which would translate to 10 - 12.5 g of salt.

The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences recommends an approximate daily range of 1,100 to 3,300 mg of sodium for adults.The American Heart Association recommends that for every 1,000 Calories of food consumed, the sodium intake should be 1,000 mg and should not exceed the 3,000 mg limit.  With the american diet rising in caloric intake, sodium intake is also rising well beyond reccomended limits for good health.  Recomended levels of sodium for children have not been devised in the U.S., but eating habits are formed early so the less salt that a child gets at an early age the better.  High sodium levels lead to many health problems.

Excess sodium intake is linked to: hypertension/high blood pressure and heart disease, fluid retention (oedema) and kidney stones. A high-sodium diet increases the need for potassium.  Excessive sodium intake has also been linked to other conditions that are exacerbated by water retention, such as:
Heart failure
Kidney problems and kidney stones
Oedema
Stroke
Gastric cancer
Left ventricular hypertrophy
Osteoporosis.

Excessive salt intake increases the amount of calcium excreted in the urine. This may contribute to osteoporosis and increased risk of fracture.
To help reduce your sodium intake, follow these 10 low-sodium suggestions:
But “lower-sodium” foods in your diet, whenever possible.
Check sodium-content on food labels: choose lower sodium brands.
Don’t add salt when cooking.
Go easy when adding salt at the table.
Reduce intake of salty snacks.
Reduce intake of fast food.
Buy fresh cold meats instead of processed varieties.
Buy lower-sodium breakfast cereals.
Check canned foods for sodium content. If using foods canned in water, rinse thoroughly before eating.
Switch from packet-soups to cans, or fresh varieties.

Here is a list of some foods and their sodium content

Sodium Diet Advice - Higher Sodium Foods to Avoid
If you need to reduce your sodium-intake, due (eg.) to high blood pressure, please reduce your consumption of these high-sodium foods.

Smoked or cured meats like bacon, bologna, hot dogs, ham, corned beef, luncheon meats, and sausage.
Canned fish like tuna, salmon, sardines, and mackerel. (Rinse before eating).
Buttermilk - Although buttermilk is high in sodium, 1 percent or skim buttermilk can be used in cooking to replace whole milk or fat.
Most cheese spreads and cheeses.
Salty chips, nuts, pretzels, or pork rinds.
Some cold (ready to eat) cereals highest in sodium, instant hot cereals.
Quick cooking rice and instant noodles, boxed mixes like rice, scalloped potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and some frozen dinners, pot pies and pizza.
Regular canned vegetables.
Pickled foods like herring, pickles, relish, olives, or sauerkraut.
Regular canned soups, instant soups.
Butter, fatback, and salt pork.
Soy sauce, steak sauce, salad dressing, ketchup, barbecue sauce, garlic salt, onion salt, seasoned salts like lemon pepper, bouillon cubes, meat tenderizer, and monosodium glutamate (MSG).

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