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How Much Salt Do You Really Need?

how much salt do you really need?

While there are certainly mixed views on sodium intake, research has established that too much salt can lead to various health problems. So, how much salt do you really need?

The Recommended Amount

Salt is an essential nutrient that our body needs to function properly. It helps regulate blood pressure, fluid balance, and muscle contractions. Most people consume far more salt than they actually need! The recommended daily intake of sodium for adults is 1,500 milligrams (mg), which is roughly the amount of sodium in one teaspoon of table salt.

However, the average American consumes about 3,400 mg of sodium per day, more than double the recommended amount. Too much salt can lead to high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. It can also increase the risk of osteoporosis, stomach cancer, and kidney stones.

Steps to Reduce Your Salt Intake

Since salt is often consumed in excess, taking steps to reducing one’s intake is a recommended step to improving overall lifestyle, preventing chronic diseases, and losing weight. Here are some practical steps to reduce your salt intake:

  • Read food labels carefully and choose foods that are low in sodium.
  • Limit your intake of processed foods, which are often high in sodium.
  • Cook with fresh ingredients instead of canned or frozen foods.
  • If you do eat canned foods, rinse the contents thoroughly before cooking/eating.
  • Use herbs and spices to flavor your food instead of salt.
  • Try healthy snacks instead of popular, salty options. Explore our snack suggestions!

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Health Risks of Too Much Salt

  • High blood pressure: Too much salt can raise your blood pressure, which can cause various long and short term health problems.
  • Osteoporosis: Salt can increase the amount of calcium that is eliminated in your urine, leading to osteoporosis (a condition that causes bones to become brittle).
  • Stomach cancer: Some studies have shown that a high-salt diet may increase your risk of stomach cancer.
  • Kidney stones: Salt can increase the amount of calcium that is deposited in your kidneys. This can lead to kidney stones.

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