Daily Salt Intake
Article by Diet Bites
Current Daily Salt Recommendation
How much salt do you need? The controversy begins - right off the starting line as health studies collide.
The current health guidelines in the United States recommends 2,300 milligrams per day - which is equal to about one teaspoon of table salt.
It's very easy to reach this recommendation because:
The American diet is mined with commercially processed and refined foods which are rich in sodium.
We also enjoy our fast food restaurants which make use of inexpensive seasonings in order to keep prices down; sodium is the cheapest seasoning ingredient found in the kitchen. It adds a lot of flavor for minimal cost.
Sodium is much like sugar; the more we put into our daily diet - the more we crave.
More often than not we reach for the shaker before tasting our food to see if it really needs more seasoning power. Most of us squeeze more than 3,000 milligrams of the white stuff into our daily diet.
Cutting Sodium Recommendations for Improved or Optimum Health
In early 2013 it was recommended that sodium be slashed to a scant 1500 milligrams daily. Why so? More commonly than not, the human body is susceptible to negative effects of this substance which include the following reactions:
Increased body weight due to bloating, albeit temporary [generally 2-4 days for the body to rectify water retention issues].
Elevated blood pressure which impacts heart health and is a contributing factor to strokes and heart attack.
Mandy foods which are rich in sodium are also rich in fatty lipids which in turn contributes to cholesterol issues which in turn may impact blood pressure - then the heart; it's like a domino effect.
So what about this 1500 milligram recommendation? For some individuals, cutting back to this minimum may result in health issues. I have a personal story relating to such which involves a dear uncle. He suffered from heart disease - experienced a massive heart attack as the age of 45 which is nicknamed 'the widow maker'.
He was advised to trim sodium from his diet. His body responded with the shakes, excessive sweating, rapid heartbeat and blood pressure issues. My aunt rushed him to the ER where his doctor met with him.
His advice? To go home, get a plate of French fries and put as much salt on them as possible. Now keep in mind that this was about 50 years ago - and times have changed significantly, particularly in the medical world. Nonetheless, cutting back to that level was too restrictive for my uncle's body - and the same can apply to other individuals.
This story had a happy ending; my uncle went on to live a full and happy life. He lived to almost 80 years old before he passed away.
New Salt Studies Conflict With Daily Recommendation
Every day a new health study is released - and almost always, it conflicts with a former study. Currently, some studies conflict with the decreased recommendation of 1500 milligrams of sodium daily - citing potential health issues. Given my uncle's personal experience in this area, these findings were not a surprise to me.
Fast Food Sodium Culprits
As we commented above, fast food menu selections tend to be excessive in salt - as do those in fine dining restaurants. Here are just a few examples:
Jack in the Box, Jumbo Jack - 910 mg
McDonalds, Big Mac - 970 mg
Burger King, Whopper - 980 mg
For more information related to fast food sodium content, refer to this article at Diet Bites.
If you are confused about the amount of salt required in your daily eating plan, meet with your doctor as all of us were created differently. While 3000+ milligrams may be too excessive for some individuals, 1500 milligrams might be too restrictive. A happy medium might equal the current recommended intake of 2,300 milligrams.
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