Moderation is Key in Salt Consumption

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Moderation is Key in Salt Consumption

Too much salt in your diet can kill you. Not enough can kill you too. So how much is enough?

Although everyone requires some salt intake, the American Heart Association recommends a maximum of 1,500 milligrams daily for adults. That’s slightly less than three-quarters of a teaspoon. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agrees, but only for adults over age 50. Those younger than 50 and in good health may ingest up to a full teaspoon (2,300 mgs), it says.

Unfortunately, nobody really knows. What is for sure is salt causes your body to retain water, but too much water stretches the tissue of your artery walls, which leads to high blood pressure, and over time high blood pressure can result in a disease called “hypertension,” which can kill you.

So be careful. Have your blood pressure checked on a regular basis by a health-care professional. If he or she determines that you have a problem, set your treatment goals and take action — which typically includes monitoring your salt intake and regular exercise.

Regarding salt consumption, if you eat processed foods, you are probably getting more salt in your diet than you need. So read the labels on packaged foods, and stay under 1,500 mgs of salt daily, which also means stay away from the saltshaker. If you are one of those rare people who do not eat packaged food, remember it’s best to consume less than a teaspoon of salt daily.

And those who can afford to dine out often, you’d better get word to the kitchen that none of the chef’s recipes are good enough “to die for.”

Lisa Burbage

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