Eating too much salt, or more specifically sodium, can lead to high blood pressure and other serious health problems. For this reason, health experts recommend that adults in the US limit the amount of sodium they consume to about 2300 milligrams. But that's easier said than done, since much of the foods that Americans eat are highly processed and contain large amounts of salt.
3 Good Reasons to Limit Your Salt Intake
- Prevent high blood pressure
- Reduce your risk of having a stroke or other cardiovascular event
- Avoid costly prescription drugs and the potential side effects that these drugs may have
How to Reduce Your Salt Intake
Prepare meals from scratch. When you prepare your own meals, you get to control just how much salt goes in and therefore, how much salt you consume.
Read food labels. Many commercially processed foods have large amounts of added in order to preserve the food. You can learn more about what's in the foods you buy by reading the label. Avoid foods that contain large amounts of sodium. A good cut-off point would be 7 percent of daily value for sodium per serving.
Eat out less frequently. When you eat out, you have little or no control over how much salt goes into the foods you eat. So, your best bet is to cut back on how often you eat out and be selective when you do.
Try the DASH diet. A number of studies show that the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is a safe and effective way to reduce blood pressure, without prescription drugs. This diet focuses on reducing the intake of foods that are high in sodium and encourages consumption of a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, fish, nuts and seeds.
Try the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is also a healthy alternative to the standard, high-sodium American diet.
If you have high blood pressure, you might want to consider cutting back on the amount of salt you consume daily. The DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet are smart alternatives to the high salt.high sodium diet that most Americans consume.
Note: Always consult your doctor and a registered dietitian when making major changes to your diet in the face of any chronic disease that might require prescription drugs.