How much salt is too much?
It’s well known that too much salt isn’t good for you but how much salt is too much? The Government guidelines are about 2300 mg for younger adults and 1500 mg for those of us over 50. That’s only about 2/3 of a teaspoon. Removing the salt shaker is a good start to reducing your salt intake but did you know that up to 80% of your salt intake may come from processed foods?
How does salt affect aging?
High sodium consumption affects all age groups but due to other health risk that accompany the aging process the dangers of salt are more pronounced in people over fifty and others with salt sensitivities. Sodium can elevate the blood pressure, contribute to bone brittleness and raises the risk of stroke, kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease and cataracts.
How to Cut back on Salt
As I mentioned up to 80% of your salt intake is from processed foods. Most Americans eat 3,500mg to 4,500mg a day, thats 2 to 3 times the recommended consumption for people over 50.
Start your reduction at the super market. Read the labels, the sodium content is required by law to be posted on the packaging. Compare brands. I know this can be somewhat time consuming at first but after a while you’ll know what brands contain the lowest sodium level. Canned veggies and tuna are packed in a sodium rich solution as a preservative, rinse the veggies or tuna before heating or eating to remove some of the salt.
Eliminate or reduce eating processed foods like cold cuts, hot dogs, and processed cheese. These are VERY high in sodium content.
Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables that are naturally low in sodium.
Drink plenty of water. Water helps flush excess salt out of the body.
One study found that lowering the amount of salt 5 grams a day (about one teaspoon) was associated with a 23% lower stroke rate and up to 17% less total cardiovascular disease. They went on to say that cutting normal salt intake in half “could avert some 1.25 million deaths from stroke and almost three million deaths from cardiovascular disease worldwide.”