They say you are what you eat….if that is the case, then we should all be pillars of salt.
Since my husband was diagnosed with heart disease, I have been much more aware of salt consumption.
I have always had a love affair with the salt shaker, but, you might be surprised how much sodium you are ingesting, even if you don’t add salt to your meals. My husband has never been a salt shaker kind of guy, but was eating a lot of processed foods. He had no idea how much he was actually consuming.
According to authoritynutrition.com:
Sodium is one of those things that everyone “knows” is unhealthy… kind of like saturated fat.
The article goes on to say:
The government has been warning us about it for decades and has spent a massive amount of resources warning us about the “dangers” of it.
The reason they do so, is that sodium is believed to increase blood pressure, a common risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
These are the two most common sources of death in middle- and high income countries (1).
The major health organizations recommend that we cut back on sodium:
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): 2300 mg.
- American Heart Association (AHA): 1500 mg (2).
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND): 1500 to 2300 mg.
- American Diabetes Association (ADA): 1500 to 2300 mg
1500 mg of sodium amounts to 0.75 teaspoons or 3.75 grams of salt per day, while 2300 mg amounts to one teaspoon or 6 grams of salt per day.
Most people today are eating much more than that. The average intake of sodium is about 3400 mg, most of it coming from processed foods.
You can read the full article here.
The healthy target seems to be 1500 mg per day. If you are eating packaged and prepared foods, good luck trying to hit that bullseye.
Of course, heart disease comes from a combination of factors-heredity, diet, lifestyle….but as the article states, salt is not good for us. Sugar and fat come in second and third, in my opinion.
So, I am breaking up with salt. I have stopped cooking with it, and I am slowly weaning myself off of the salt shaker. I have discovered, to my surprise, that my taste buds are acclimating to the change.
So what can you do to “shake” the salt habit?
- use herbs and spices to cook with-Mrs. Dash is salt and gluten free
- use lemon, lime or vinegar to “wake up” the flavor of foods and to “brighten”
- cook with wine whenever possible-it adds flavor without adding salt
- remove the salt shaker from the kitchen
- use a small amount of Worcestershire or fish sauce-it adds a depth of flavor without too much sodium
- limit use of soy sauce (tamari)
- limit packaged and pre-made items whenever possible
- read labels-you might be surprised by sodium content
- use low sodium broth
- look for “no salt added” on labels
- Rinse canned vegetables to wash off salt if salt is added
These are just a few of the ways to limit salt intake. Believe me, your heart will thank you!