Why You Should Learn to Tame Your Salt Habit?


Spilled Salt Shaker

Salt is good for you. Your muscles and nerves need it to function properly and it also stimulates thirst and helps to maintain a healthy pH balance. However, as the American Heart Association notes, you only need about one teaspoon of salt a day. Salt is 40% sodium and eating too much salt will cause sodium to build up in your kidneys, leading to kidney problems, cardiovascular problems and increased blood pressure. Over-consumption of sodium has also been linked with childhood hypertension and autoimmune problems such as multiple sclerosis and lupus.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. Elderly individuals, African Americans and those who have high blood pressure, diabetes and/or chronic kidney problems should eat no more than 1,500 mg of sodium a day.

It is important to realize that salt is not the only source of sodium. If you do not want to cut back on the amount of salt you add to your food, you can reduce overall sodium intake by avoiding canned or frozen foods, processed meats, fast foods and salty snacks such as salted peanuts and chips. It is also important to avoid foods that have been made in brine.

A balanced diet is the key to living a healthy life. While salt is good for you and you should definitely eat some every day, it is important not to eat too much of this chemical compound. Watch your sodium intake if you eat processed foods to ensure that you are staying within the limits outlined by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and consult a doctor if you have health problems that would affect your diet.

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