Watch Your Salt Intake for Better Health

FDA Nutrition Facts Label Showing Sodium Content

You probably already know that limiting salt (sodium) intake is good for your health. What you may not know is that you might not be doing as much as you should. That's because, on average more than 75% of the sodium in our diet comes from added salt. To make matters worse, you often don't even know that you are eating it. So, while cutting back on table salt is good, the biggest culprit to good health is likely the processed foods you consume. According to U.S. Dietary Guidelines, an adult's sodium intake should be below 2300 mg. a day.

When you're shopping for groceries, your best ally is the Nutrition Facts Label* that is included on food product packages. Nowadays, the FDA  forces food manufacturers to list how much sodium is in each of their product's servings. Additionally, any product that claims to be sodium free or salt free cannot contain more than 5 milligrams of sodium per serving.  A product with a low sodium claim is restricted to 140 mg or less per serving. 

NOTE: A "no salt added" or "unsalted" claim on food product label does not mean the food is “sodium free” — so read the FDA label.

While sodium can raise your blood pressure, the salty mineral is counteracted or balanced by consuming potassium. So, if you're closely watching your salt intake and still suffer with higher blood pressure readings, it may be a lack of potassium that threatens your health. Fresh fruits and vegetables that contain greater amounts of potassium include avocados, bananas, baked potato, winter squash, sweet potato, lentils, Brussels sprouts and cooked beets. Diligence is also need when you eat out. A bowl of P.F. Chang's hot-and-sour soup contains 7,980 mg of sodium.

For starters, compare FDA food labels and choose the food products with the lowest amount of sodium. To learn more about the role minerals play in managing your menu plan, contact the Metabolic Research Center for a free weight loss consultation.


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