The Benefits of Cutting Back on Salt
This is not just the time of year to give a heart to your valentine, but it is also the time to take care of your own. February is American Heart Month, and studies show that adopting a low-sodium diet (and lifestyle) is an excellent first step in having a healthier heart. Let’s begin with the facts about salt and sodium.
How much sodium (salt) should I be eating?
The FDA recommended daily sodium intake is no more than 2,300 milligrams, maximum. How much sodium is in a teaspoon of salt? About 2,300 milligrams. That means that the daily maximum amount of salt you should be consuming is less than a teaspoon every day. Ideally we should work towards limiting our sodium intake to about 1,500 milligrams a day for optimal health.
Unfortunately, most Americans consume closer to 3,400 milligrams of sodium every day. This is because the amount of salt we ingest isn’t just the tiny bit we sprinkle on top before we eat, there is also a lot of added sodium to processed foods to make them taste delicious. Therefore, we are eating a lot of added salt without even realizing it.
Why should I make an effort to reduce my salt intake?
The biggest reason to cut back on salt is because this is one simple way to reduce your risk of high blood pressure (the leading cause of cardiovascular disease). It can feel overwhelming to try and address all healthy habits at once, such as working to increase exercise, get more sleep, eat less sugar, and eat a cleaner, more nutrient-dense diet. Since reducing sodium is such a key component in lowering the risk of heart disease, switching to a low-sodium diet is a great place to start in reaching a healthier lifestyle.
How can I reduce my salt intake?
These are some easy ways to cut back on salt and sodium every day: