Our bodies actually need it. However, excess salt (sodium chloride) has been linked to various health conditions including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and kidney disease. In this short post we shall look at ways to beat your salt cravings and reduce intake.
How Much Is Too Much Salt?
So, how much salt should you take in? How much is too much? According to the CDC, we only need between 180mg and 500mg of salt daily to keep our bodies working properly.
It is recommended to consume no more than 2300mg (milligrams) of salt per day. However, this it should be less than 1500mg for African-Americans, those with high blood pressure, or over 51 years old, among other conditions. Yet the average consumption of sodium in America is whopping 3,436 mg.
Simple Ways To Reduce Salt Cravings And Intake
The causes of salt cravings are beyond the scope of this post. What is important is to find ways to reduce them and hopefully shake your salt habit permanently.
1. Read the label: Reading product labels is one of the healthiest habits you can develop. Most processed or packaged foods we die for are often loaded with salt. Pay attention to not only to sodium amounts, but serving sizes as well.
2. Substitute wisely: Many salt substitutes contain potassium chloride, which too may be harmful when consumed in excess. Some substitutes contain a mixture of sodium and other compounds. Also, in order to satisfy your taste buds, you may use too much of the substitute.
3. Look beyond the shaker: While it may be wise to avoid reaching for the salt shaker most of the time, this is not where we get most of our sodium from. The average person gets 40 to 45 percent of their intake from restaurant or processed foods. Condiments also often contain sodium.
4. Use natural herbs and spices: Experiment with natural herbs and spices such as garlic powder, basil, cilantro, oregano, thyme, paprika, zests of citrus fruits, and cardamom. You can use fresh or dried varieties.
5. Cut back slowly: Cutting your salt intake suddenly or too quickly can result in more cravings. Instead, retrain your taste buds by gradually decreasing the amounts from your diet.