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July 10, 2017

How Much Salt Should I Really Be Eating?

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?

How much salt should I really be eating every 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 is the absolute maximum.
  • Ideally, the limit should be 1,500 milligrams a day.
  • The average American consumes about 3,400 milligrams every day - that is 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 this mean for our salt consumption?

Let's put that all in simpler terms:

  • A measly 1/2 teaspoon of salt = about 1,150 mg of sodium.
  • 1 teaspoon = about 2,300 mg of sodium.
  • Most people think they are 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 1/4 teaspoon of salt) per day.

What can we do to cut back on salt?

  • Read labels.
    Check the sodium content of every product you buy at the store. Those food labels can be very sneaky!
  • Cook as many meals at home as you can.
    You can control your salt intake better when you are the one building meals.
  • Be careful when you eat out.
    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 reduce my salt intake?

  • 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!

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[Credit: How Much Sodium Should I Eat Per Day? Sodium Breakup, Heart.org.]