Although salt is a naturally occurring substance, and your body needs some sodium, too much salt can be detrimental to your health, often contributing to an increase in blood pressure.
A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 90 percent of people consume more salt than they should on a daily basis. Ninety percent. That’s a huge number.
How much is too much? Well, it depends on who you ask.
The American Heart Association sets a maximum daily value for all adults at 1,500 mg, while the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans has a range between 1,500 and 2,300 depending on your age, ethnicity, and medical conditions. The CDC study found that most adults eat 3,300 mg of sodium in their foods, not counting any salt they add to food from a salt shaker sitting at the kitchen or restaurant table.
Where Is It?
Salt is abundant in most processed foods. Here are a few numbers to give you a perspective:
Canned chicken soup, chunky: 867 mg in 1 cup (which is less than half the can)
Lunch meat: 429 mg in 3 thin slices
Fast food biscuit with egg: 891 mg per biscuit
Little Caesar’s Cheese Pizza: 440 mg in two slices
Bagel, small 3″ size: 407 mg per bagel.
Pretzels, 1 oz.: 486 mg
Baking powder: 488 mg per teaspoon
How to Avoid Overdoing It
Although even vegetables have sodium, with celery being one of the higher sodium vegetables (51 mg per 1 large stalk), eating mainly whole foods like I talked about in my Attune post (Please visit if you missed it!) on Wednesday gives you a huge leg up on making sure your sodium intake stays within a healthy level. (If you missed the post – please take a look!)
One tip I have, which some of you undoubtedly do, is to remove the salt shaker from your own kitchen table, and train your palette to appreciate vegetables, main dishes, and side dishes that have no added salt. Even in our family, where I cook fairly healthy dishes, I heard some complaints from the older crowd about the lack of salt. Now, if they go out to eat they are amazed how salty everything tastes. Too much salt seems to dull our taste buds, making it difficult to fully appreciate the flavors of foods.
How are you doing? Are you one of the 90 percent? Diane