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Please, Pass (On) The Salt

No to salt

It is been a standard for years now, but the American Heart Association has new statics that reinforce the knowledge that it is best to reduce your salt intake. So for better health, please, pass on the salt.

The new statistics show there would be 250,000 fewer new cases of heart disease over the coming decade if Americans reduced salt intake by just 1 gram per day. In that same time period, it is estimated there would be 200,000 fewer deaths.

Rather than decreasing salt intake, Americans have continued to increase their salt intake during the last few decades. Salt consumption is up about 50% since the 1970s. Doctors and health care providers have continued to recommend a low-salt diet as part of the treatment of hypertension and heart disease.

Americans on average eat 9 to 12 grams of salt per day. That’s 3,600 to 4,800 milligrams of sodium. The usual “healthy” recommendation is 5 to 6 grams of salt per day, which is 2,000 to 2,400 milligrams of sodium.

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African-Americans are more likely to have high blood pressure. Theirs is also more likely to be sensitive to salt. The study found that a 3-gram per day reduction in salt among African-Americans would result in a 10% reduction in new cases of heart disease and a 6% reduction in deaths.

As a whole, all Americans would benefit from a reduction of the daily salt intake. A reduction of salt intake by 3-gram per day would result in 6% fewer new cases of heart disease and 3% fewer deaths. Three grams per day is equivalent to 1,200 milligrams of sodium.

Healthy American adults should reduce their sodium intake to less than 2300 mg (about 1 teaspoon) per day. The average American consumes about 6 to 18 grams of salt daily. That's roughly one to three teaspoonfuls. Your body actually needs only about 200 mg of sodium each day (only 1/12 teaspoon).

Tips for reducing your salt intake:

Eat fewer processed foods.
Read the labels.
Don’t use the salt shaker. Use the pepper shaker or mill.
Add fresh lemon juice to fish and vegetables instead of salt.

American Heart Association News Release
AHA Salt Intake Recommendations