(OrganicJar) The salt, or sodium, in your diet directly affects your blood pressure levels. Generally, the higher your daily salt intake, the higher your blood pressure. However, because each person is unique, your body’s response to reducing salt in your diet may reduce your blood pressure to a different degree than someone else. Still, eating less salt isn’t harmful and will likely be beneficial to your health. Most people actually become more “salt sensitive” as they age, with larger changes in blood pressure. The recommended amount of salt for healthy adults is between 1500 and 2300 milligrams (about 1 tsp.) a day.
Reducing Salt in Your Diet
As much as 80 percent of the salt you eat comes from prepared foods. If you eat mostly unprocessed food, you will have more control over your salt intake. Keep in mind that we can “unlearn” our taste for salt. Food that was once salty enough will seem too salty after a short time of reducing salt intake.
Salt Reduction Tips:
- Taste your food before you add salt. It might not need it,
- Don’t put salt shakers on your table. Our response to salt shakers is almost a reflex reaction,
- Take your salt out of the original packaging so it’s easier to control how much you use,
- Look for “reduced salt” or “low sodium” versions of prepared foods you buy. You can always add salt, but you can’t take it away.
The Difference Between Salt and Sea Salt
I am often asked if sea salt is healthier than regular salt. They basically have the same nutritional value and consist of two minerals — sodium and chloride. The real differences between sea salt and table salt are in their taste, texture and processing, not their chemical makeup.
Sea salt is evaporated from seawater and has no additives. Sea salt comes in either fine or coarse grains, and because of its mineral content, the taste is somewhat different from regular salt.
Table salt is mined from mineral deposits. Fine-grained table salt often contains added iodine, which is good for thyroid functions. Some food companies put an anti-caking ingredient in table salt.
Current Research on Salt
According to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a recent study of more than 11,000 European men and women found that people who ingested and excreted more salt had higher blood pressure, regardless of genetics. The good news about this study was that a large group of people participated—one criticism was that the hypothesis was reasonable, but only one gene was tested.
Regardless of the genetic question surrounding high blood pressure, your genes are something you can’t change. The study proves that salt intake raises blood pressure and you do have control over how much salt you eat. Left untreated, high blood pressure increases the risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. So think twice before you add all that salt to your next meal or Margarita.
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