So after I posted the article the other day, Robin asked if I was going to post an article on the side effects of salt. So after looking around, here is an excerpted article from the Mayo Clinic on salt. You can read the entire article by Clicking Here
Sodium: Are you getting too much?
Find out how much sodium you really need, what high-sodium foods to avoid, and ways to prepare and serve foods without adding salt or sodium.
By Mayo Clinic staff
Sodium: Essential in small amounts
Your body needs some sodium to function properly.
■Helps maintain the right balance of fluids in your body
■Helps transmit nerve impulses
■Influences the contraction and relaxation of muscles
Your kidneys regulate the amount of sodium kept in your body. When sodium levels are low, your kidneys conserve sodium. When levels are high, they excrete the excess amount in urine.
How much sodium do you need?
Various organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine, have published recommendations on daily sodium limits. Most recommend not exceeding the range of 1,500 and 2,400 milligrams (mg) a day for healthy adults. Keep in mind that the lower your sodium, the more beneficial effect on blood pressure.
If you are older than 50, are black or have a health condition such as high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease or diabetes, you may be more sensitive to the blood pressure raising effects of sodium. As a result, aim for a sodium limit at the low end of the range recommended for healthy adults. Talk to your doctor about the sodium limit that’s best for you.
Three main sources of sodium
The average U.S. diet has three main sources of sodium:
■Processed and prepared foods. Most sodium in a person’s diet comes from eating processed and prepared foods, such as canned vegetables, soups, luncheon meats and frozen foods. Food manufacturers use salt or other sodium-containing compounds to preserve food and to improve the taste and texture of food.
■Sodium-containing condiments. One teaspoon (5 milliliters) of table salt has 2,325 mg of sodium, and 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) of soy sauce has about 900 to 1,000 mg of sodium. Adding these or other sodium-laden condiments to your meals — either while cooking or at the table — raises the sodium count of food.
■Natural sources of sodium. Sodium naturally occurs in some foods, such as meat, poultry, dairy products and vegetables. For example, 1 cup (237 milliliters) of low-fat milk has about 107 mg of sodium.
Be a savvy shopper: Find the sodium
Taste alone may not tell you which foods are high in sodium. For example, you may not think a bagel tastes salty, but a 4-inch (10-centimeter) oat-bran bagel has 451 mg of sodium.
So how do you identify foods high in sodium? The best way to determine sodium content 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 compounds include:
■Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
■Sodium nitrate or nitrite
How to cut sodium
You may or may not be particularly sensitive to the effects of sodium. And because there’s no way to know who might develop high blood pressure as a result of a high-sodium diet, choose and prepare foods with less sodium.
You can cut sodium several ways:
■Eat more fresh foods and fewer processed foods. Most fresh fruits and vegetables are naturally low in sodium. Also, fresh meat is lower in sodium than luncheon meat, bacon, hot dogs, sausage and ham are. Buy fresh and frozen poultry or meat that hasn’t been injected with a sodium-containing solution. Look on the label or ask your butcher.
■Opt for low-sodium products. If you do buy processed foods, select those that have reduced sodium.
■Remove salt from recipes whenever possible. You can leave out the salt in many recipes, including casseroles, stews and other main dishes. Baked goods are an exception. Leaving out the salt could affect the quality as well as the taste of the food.
■Limit your use of sodium-laden condiments. Salad dressings, sauces, dips, ketchup, mustard and relish all contain sodium.
■Use herbs, spices and other flavorings to enhance foods. Learn how to use fresh or dried herbs, spices, zest from citrus fruit, and fruit juices to jazz up your meals.
■Use salt substitutes wisely. Some salt substitutes or light salts contain a mixture of table salt (sodium chloride) and other compounds. To achieve that familiar salty taste, you may use too much of the substitute and actually not use less sodium. In addition, many salt substitutes contain potassium chloride. Though dietary potassium can lessen some of the harm of excess sodium, too much supplemental potassium can be harmful if you have kidney problems or if you’re taking medications for congestive heart failure or high blood pressure that cause potassium retention.
Your taste for salt is acquired, so it’s reversible. To unlearn this salty savoring, decrease your use of salt gradually and your taste buds will adjust. Most people find that after a few weeks of cutting salt, they no longer miss it. Start by using no more than 1/4 teaspoon (1 milliliter) of added salt daily, and then gradually reduce to no salt add-ons. As you use less salt, your preference for it lessens, allowing you to enjoy the taste of food itself.
So there you have some information on the consumption of salt. Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating eliminating salt in your cooking – just be aware of the consequences of salt and try to keep your intake to 1500mg a day. As the article suggests, use more herbs and spices and stay away from processed foods. Make your own. That’s why they made kitchens!! Cheers.