Halting The Salt

July 1, 2010 at 3:48 pm Leave a comment

Sodium is an essential nutrient for proper functioning of the body. It helps maintain the right balance of fluids, transmit nerve impulses, and influences the contraction and relaxation of your muscles. But very little is needed in the diet.

Too much sodium or salt in some individuals can cause high blood pressure, which can lead to cardiovascular and kidney diseases. Americans on average consume 3,436 milligrams of sodium daily. The National Academy of Sciences recommends a maximum daily intake of 2,300 milligrams, but says healthy adults should aim to eat less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day.

So how to you lower your sodium intake? Well, taste alone may not tell you which foods are high in sodium. For example, eating a bagel may seem like a safe bet to keep your daily sodium intake in check, but a 4-inch oat-bran bagel may contain 451 milligrams of sodium.

The best way to identify foods high in sodium is to read food labels. The Nutrition Facts label tells you how much sodium is in each serving. It also lists whether salt or sodium-containing compounds are ingredients. Examples of these include monosodium glutamate (MSG), baking soda, baking powder, disodium phosphate, sodium alginate, and sodium nitrate or nitrite.

Entry filed under: Nutrition, To Your Health.

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