As with anything in life, over-consuming one thing can tip our bodies off balance. Whether drinking too much alcohol, sprinkling on too much sugar, or eating too much red meat, it affects everything from weight gain to state of mind and stress.
One culprit tipping the scales (in every sense of the word) is salt. We’ve addressed the issue of an over-salted diet in the past, but how much sodium should we really be consuming each day?
Here are the facts:
- It is recommended by the AHA (American Heart Association) that adults consume no more than 2,300 milligrams a day of salt. That’s the absolute maximum.
- Ideally, the limit should be 1,500 milligrams a day.
- The average American consumes about 3,400 milligrams every day – that’s over twice the recommended limit!
- Most of the sodium Americans eat (75%) comes from packaged processed foods, and meals purchased at restaurants – not from the salt shaker!
What does that mean?
Let’s put that all in simpler terms:
- A measly ½ teaspoon of salt = 1,150 mg of sodium.
- 1 teaspoon = 2,300 mg of sodium.
- Most people think they’re eating less sodium than they actually are.
- The body only requires a teeny tiny amount of sodium to function properly. That amount is 500 mg (or less than ¼ teaspoon of salt).
What do we do?
- Read labels. Check the sodium content of everything!
- Cook as many meals at home as you can. You can control your salt intake better when you’re the one building meals.
- If you do eat out at a restaurant, order sauce and dressings on the side, and choose smaller portions. The biggest culprits for high sodium at restaurants or fast-food chains:
- Anything fried. Mozzarella sticks, french fries, etc.
- Any sandwiches with deli meats.
- Cheese-smothered foods, like pizza, nachos, or macaroni and cheese.
- Anything with heavy sauces, such as pasta sauce or gravy.
- Don’t drink your salt! Sports drinks often contain a lot of sodium and added sugars.
What will happen when I cut back?
- You will reduce risk of heart disease, and improve blood pressure.
- You’ll have more energy.
- You’ll lose weight.
- You will notice that it takes less salt to season your foods, and other seasonings will become more desirable (and more flavorful).
Just taking a few small steps to cut back on your sodium intake will do wonders for your overall health. At True Citrus, we have products that will help you reach your goals!
[Credit: “How Much Sodium Should I Eat Per Day?” Sodium Breakup, Heart.org.]