How To Counteract Too Much Salt Intake
Ninety percent of Americans take in more salt than they need each day, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Your current recommendation is not to exceed 2.4 grams of sodium a day, the equivalent of about 1 teaspoon of table salt. But if you have high blood pressure or other risk factors, you should limit your sodium intake to 1.5 grams per day. Although it is uncomfortable and unhealthy to take in too much salt, you can counteract it by modifying your diet and diluting your blood sodium.
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Select Foods With Less Hidden Salt
While reducing the salt you add at the table and when cooking or preparing meals, you should also focus on selecting foods that contain less hidden salt because this accounts for around 75% of all salt in most peoples diet.
- Choose reduced salt bread and breakfast cereals bread is a major source of sodium in the diet.
- Buy fresh vegetables or select lower sodium canned varieties.
- Read food labels.
- Choose products with low salt or salt-free versions of commonly used foods .
- Choose unprocessed fresh wholefoods.
- Reduce packaged and processed snack purchases.
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More About Salt Moderation
Allen Raines knew he had to make changes when he had an episode of high blood pressure last year. The 54-year-old from Cincinnati has always been naturally thin, so when he had that health scare, his doctor made several recommendations and one was to reduce his salt intake.
“I’ve cut out salt, but I’ve done other things as well, and my doctor says it’s working. It’s less about elimination and more about moderation,” Raines says.
He’s the cook in the family and stopped using salt that recipes called for. Instead, he lets his family add salt at the table if they choose. Raines tried salt substitutes initially, but his family didn’t care for the taste, so he doesn’t cook with them.
“I researched salt substitutes and I don’t trust the high potassium levels. It felt a little risky and didn’t seem like the route I wanted to go,” says Raines. “I’m eating more fruit and vegetables now, getting potassium and sodium naturally. I used to like a sandwich for lunch, heavy with mayonnaise. Now I just use a thin layer.”
Patel says: “I think salt substitutes are beneficial with the caveat that you have to work with your doctor. Having high levels of potassium in the body can have very bad effects on the heart. Most people can handle the extra potassium they’re ingesting in the salt substitute, provided their kidney function is normal the patients who have abnormal kidney function have to be very careful of those salt substitutes that are using potassium chloride.”
High Sodium Intake And Other Health Conditions
Excessive sodium intake has also been linked to other conditions, such as:
- Heart failure
A high level of salt intake increases the amount of calcium excreted in the urine, which may also contribute to osteoporosis and increased risk of fracture.The balance of sodium and water in the body can also be disrupted if there is not enough water. This may be caused by a damaged thirst mechanism or by limited access to water. Hypernatremia is a very serious condition that occurs when your sodium levels rise above 145 milliequivalents per litre . It can lead to death. A major symptom is thirst and treatment usually involve controlled water replacement.
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Osteoporosis Happens If You Eat Too Much Sodium
Excessive salt intake prevents the body from absorbing the calcium required to strengthen the bones and gets rid of it through the urine and thus developing osteoporosis.
The elderly are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis, as the bones naturally become thinner with age, and so are postmenopausal women due to a decrease in the estrogen hormone that normally protects bone health.
What Is Sodium Why Do We Need It
Sodium is commonly referred to as salt. Many studies show that its widely present in the American diet, most often in the form of sodium chloride, which is added to a variety of packaged, canned, bottled and frozen foods and beverages.
Even though most people get too much of it, sodium is an important electrolyte mineral that is involved in muscle contraction and the regulation of blood pressure, blood volume and nerve function. How much sodium per day is needed?
Sodium recommendations can differ based on a variety of factors. Competitive athletes, for example, should be mindful of their sodium intake and be sure to replenish any electrolytes that are lost through sweat when working out.
According to the FDA, more than 70 percent of total sodium intake among Americans is from sodium added during food manufacturing and commercial food preparation. Only 30 percent or less of salt intake is from added table salt or small amounts of salt naturally found in some foods .
When experts refer tocommercially processed and packaged foods, they are talking about foods to which sodium has been added, not foods that naturally contain some sodium, such as milk. Processed foods that are high in sodium are often multiple-ingredient foods that have been packaged for direct sale to consumers or use in food establishments like restaurants.
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Reduce Your Intake Of Processed Foods
To reduce your processed food intake, you have to avoid most of the packaged & preserved foods you find in your grocery store.
Canned food is usually very high in sodium content and added salt . They also include additives like sodium bicarbonate or monosodium glutamate
Reduce or eliminate your consumption of fast food. You will be surprised how much you can cut out from your daily menu and still enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
Is It Salt Or Sodium
- Sodium chloride is the chemical name for salt.1
- Ninety percent of the sodium we consume is in the form of salt.1
- The words salt and sodium are not exactly the same, yet these words are often used interchangeably. For example, the Nutrition Facts Panel on foods in the grocery store uses sodium, while the front of the package may say no salt added or unsalted.5
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What Does Sodium Do To Your Body
Sodium is an electrolyte that has the effect of drawing water into your blood. This helps balance fluid levels and acidity when it works in harmony with another electrolyte, potassium. Fun fact: We need about 500mg of sodium per day for our bodies to function, or about ¼ teaspoon.
But when we have too much salt, we start retaining more fluid and our blood vessels constrict almost like a balloon thats ready to pop. Overdo it consistently on sodium, and the result is high blood pressure, which can do serious damage to your kidneys, heart, and circulatory system over time.
What Is The Recommended Daily Intake Of Sodium
Ones diet can have a significant impact on their health. For example, the American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams per day and an ideal limit of 1,500 mg for most adults to help keep blood pressure levels low.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that children ages 1 through 3 limit their sodium intake to 1200 milligrams per day, 1500 milligrams per day if they are 4-8 years old, and 1800 mg of salt a day when theyre 9-13.
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High Sodium Intake And Blood Pressure
The relationship between sodium intake and blood pressure is well established. Populations with a high average salt intake have higher average and higher levels of hypertension . Australians consume nearly double the amount of sodium that is recommended to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.Reducing the amount of salt you have will lower high blood pressure the extent depends on your age, current blood pressure and other factors such as the amount of exercise you do, body weight, stress and alcohol intake.
People with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease and those who are older or overweight are particularly susceptible to the effect of too much sodium on blood pressure.There is strong evidence that sodium reduction lowers blood pressure in people with normal blood pressure and good evidence that consuming a diet low in sodium reduces blood pressure in children.
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How To Reduce Sodium Intake
The easiest strategy to combat high sodium in your diet is to limit your intake of highly processed foods. Check the Nutrition Facts label for the daily value of salt in the foods you eat.
Consider these satisfying sodium-free alternatives: fruits, vegetables, salt, nuts, fruit, and whole grains .
Other techniques for reducing salt intake include:
- Increase your food intake of natural sources of potassium by eating more fruits and vegetables.
- Pay attention to portion sizes, especially for ready-to-eat products.
- Cut down on marinated foods like cold cuts and sausages.
- Rinse out the cans or look for those that dont contain added salt.
- Choose packaged products that are low in sodium.
- Remove the salt shaker from the table.
- Eat several whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, bulgur, whole-wheat pasta and bread, wild rice, and popcorn.
- Include beans, peas, and other sources of plant protein.
- Substitute unsalted nuts for cookies and chips.
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How Does Sodium Impact Blood Pressure
Left untreated, high blood pressure can cause serious and life-threatening cardiac events. The good news is that blood pressure can often be improved with lifestyle modifications, such as dietary changes, stress management, and regular exercise.
One of the most important dietary changes you can make to lower your blood pressure is to monitor your sodium intake. If you are on a mission to keep your blood pressure levels in a healthy range, Dr. Henock Saint-Jaques and his experienced team of cardiologists at Harlem Cardiology in East Harlem, New York, can provide guidance on sodium intake and other dietary changes that promote heart health.
But how does sodium affect your heart in the first place? Heres what you need to know.
How Much Salt Do People Eat In Europe
The average intake of salt varies across Europe, ranging from between 8 to 12 g per day.1 Across most European countries, both men and women, on average, consume well above recommended levels . Men will often consume more salt than women as they tend to consume more food overall.
Figure 1. Estimated salt intake of men and women across European countries.1Estimated salt intake was calculated from 24-hour urinary sodium using the equation 17.1 mmol of sodium = 1g of salt and assumes all sodium was derived from salt. For Ireland and German salt intake was calculated using spot urinary sodium which means the result may be less reliable.
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Excessive Salt Consumption Impairs The Function Of The Kidneys
.The kidneys are also essential for health, as they filter and purify the blood, which is necessary to stay alive. This filtering function is hampered by excessive salt intake and high blood pressure. Not only does excessive salt put someone at risk of forming kidney stones, but it also worsens an already existing condition.
Reduce Salt When Eating Cooking Or Preparing Meals
- Using dry or fresh herbs like parsley, oregano, thyme, dill, basil or a dry herb mix to add flavour.
- Using spices and other flavour enhancers like garlic and chili.
- Lemon or lime juices are excellent flavour enhancers and often make meats more tender.
- Experiment with small amounts and use a recipe book to get ideas on what flavours go well together. .
- If you currently use quite a lot of salt in cooking or at the table, reducing this is even more important. For the average person, this accounts for around 25% of their total salt intake and is one easy action you can take to reduce your sodium intake.
- Some people believe sea salt is a healthier alternative to normal table salt, but both are composed of sodium chloride so are best avoided.
- Avoid fast foods and takeaway foods that are high in salt.
- Ask for less salt when dining out you may even like to provide feedback to businesses if their dishes appear salty).
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It Hinders The Function Of The Respiratory System
When people reduce their salt intake, they experience a decrease in the severity of asthma symptoms. Doctors also point out that too much sodium can worsen this respiratory condition and cause it to be more difficult for patients with severe cases to breathe normally or take medications as prescribed.
How To Reduce Salt In Diets
Government policies and strategies should create environments that enable populations to consume adequate quantities of safe and nutritious foods that make up a healthy diet including low salt. Improving dietary habits is a societal as well as an individual responsibility. It demands a population-based, multisectoral, and culturally relevant approach.
Key broad strategies for salt reduction include:
- government policies – including appropriate fiscal policies and regulation to ensure food manufacturers and retailers produce healthier foods or make healthy products available and affordable
- working with the private sector to improve the availability and accessibility of low-salt products
- consumer awareness and empowerment of populations through social marketing and mobilization to raise awareness of the need to reduce salt intake consumption
- creating an enabling environment for salt reduction through local policy interventions and the promotion of healthy food settings such as schools, workplaces, communities, and cities
- monitoring of population salt intake, sources of salt in the diet and consumer knowledge, attitudes and behaviours relating to salt to inform policy decisions.
Salt reduction programmes and programmes that promote fortification with micronutrients of salt, condiments or seasonings high in salt can complement each other.
Salt consumption at home can be reduced by:
Other local practical actions to reduce salt intake include:
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