November 18, 2010
Dietary Guidelines may reduce allowance for salt and sodium
1500mg could be the new daily recommendation for adults, down from 2,300, when the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 are updated in December. The recommendation to gradually move toward consuming 1,500 mg of sodium a day (about two-thirds of a teaspoon's worth of salt) is part of an effort to lower the incidence of cardiovascular disease.
The average daily consumption has most recently been estimated at more than twice that: 3,436 mg to 3,712 mg per day. Consuming less sodium can lower an individual's blood pressure, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States.
That logic is widely embraced; the American Heart Association is among the many health organizations that agree that lowering sodium consumption would benefit public health.
But just how can you "change down" without resigning yourself to a bland diet? Here are some ideas:
Experiment with herbs, garlic and onions, and other low-sodium seasonings.
Ease up if you tend to add salt at the table. Though keep in mind that table and cooking salt account for only a small fraction, 5 to 10 percent, of our total sodium intake.
Consider eating more potassium-rich foods such as baked potatoes, bananas, cantaloupe and cooked dark green vegetables such as spinach. Potassium plays a big role in maintaining health blood pressure; you should consume about 4,700 mg daily.
Be aware that your desire for salt will likely diminish within a few weeks after you cut back. That taste is not inborn in humans.
Cook more meals at home. This is the biggest change you can make. Substitute less-processed, more "whole" foods in place of processed, packaged foods and restaurant meals. About three-quarters of our sodium comes from such foods, a reality that suggests that much of the sodium-reduction work has to be done with food manufacturers and restaurants, not so much with individuals.
Posted by Lisa at November 18, 2010 2:05 AM
To send a trackback, use this url. If you know anything about this subject, please post a comment.