Lowering Salt in Your Diet

According to the Institute of Medicine – Reducing the intake of sodium is an important public health goal for Americans. Since the 1970s, an array of public health interventions and national dietary guidelines has sought to reduce sodium intake. However, the U.S. population still consumes more sodium than is recommended, placing individuals at risk for diseases related to elevated blood pressure. Behind the scenes, the Food & Nutrition Board and Committee to Review the Process to Update Dietary Guidelines for Americans determines what foods Americans should eat to promote their health, and in what amounts? Also, what is the scientific evidence that supports specific recommendations for dietary intake to reduce the risk of multifactorial chronic disease? These questions are critically important because dietary intake has shown to have a role as a key determinant of health.

Everyone needs some salt to function – also known as sodium chloride. Salt helps maintain the body’s balance of fluids. Salt also functions in many foods as a preservative by helping to prevent spoilage and keeping certain foods safe to eat, but nearly all Americans consume more salt than they need, according to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These guidelines are published every five years by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The natural salt in food accounts for about 10 percent of total intake, on average, according to the guidelines. The salt we add at the table or while cooking adds another 5 to 10 percent. About 75 percent of our total salt intake comes from salt added to processed foods by manufacturers and salt that cooks add to foods at restaurants and other food service establishments.

We all know the health effects of too much salt. In many people, salt contributes to high blood pressure. High blood pressure makes the heart work harder and can lead to heart disease, stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease. Remember to read your food labels.

If you are running low on your spices, I will be at the DIVA Market at its new location of 1817 Del Paso Boulevard, Sacramento on September 23rd from 11:am to 6:00pm.  On September 30th Jubliare is having their craft faire at 1505 Sports Drive (Natomas) from 10:00 to 4:00, and on October 14th in Antelope Crossing is celebrating their Halloween Spooktacula from 11:00am to 3:00pm – 7847 Lichen Drive, Citrus Heights.  Hope to see you there!

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