By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH
Do you enjoy salty snacks? Or find yourself reaching for the salt shaker at the dinner table?
If you do, you are not alone.
In general, people in the U.S. eat much more sodium (salt) than they should. But why is it important to watch the amount of sodium you eat? It is because the more sodium you consume, the higher your blood pressure becomes. Some conditions, such as certain heart and kidney problems, cause the body to hold onto sodium, which causes extra fluid to build up in the body. This extra fluid forces the heart to work harder. Therefore, if you live with chronic conditions, it is especially important to control the amount of sodium you eat.
So how much sodium should you be consuming in a day? While for most people it is recommended to not go over 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium, for those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney problems, the daily limit for sodium is even lower– 1,500 mg ideally, but no more than 2,000 mg.
Pop quiz: How many milligrams of sodium are in one small teaspoon of salt?
Answer: 2,300 milligrams!
1 teaspoon of salt
2,300 mg of sodium
Surprised? What this means is that adding any salt to your meals can cause you to go over the recommended limit. So is it even possible to stay within this recommended limit? Yes–it is possible! And today I will discuss exactly how.
Continue reading “Taking Control Over Salt”