Fight Back Against Salt Overload
Today, more companies offer low-salt and “no salt added” alternatives. Choosing those, plus other low-sodium foods, can help lower blood pressure, as well as the risk of stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, cataracts, brittle bones, stomach cancer and dementia.
Too much salt now accounts for nearly 150,000 premature deaths a year, says the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group that has sued the FDA to make it crack down on sodium in foods. Government guidelines limit sodium to 2,300 milligrams a day (about 1 teaspoon) for adults under age 45, and 1,500mg daily for African Americans, older adults, and those with high blood pressure. Most Americans eat 3,500mg to 4,500mg a day.
How to shake sodium:
Always check food labels for sodium content. Compare brands.
Buy no-salt-added foods.
Rinse canned beans and tuna to remove some of the salt.
Restrict bacon, ham, hot dogs, cold cuts, smoked salted fish, sauerkraut, pickles and processed cheese.
Eat fresh vegetables. They’re naturally low in sodium and high in potassium. Bonus: Potassium forces the kidneys to excrete more sodium.
Tomato sauce: Cut 345mg per 1/4 cup
Use “no salt added” canned (15mg), not regular canned (360mg).
Corn kernels: Cut 284mg per 1/2 cup
Use frozen, unsalted (2mg), not canned (286mg).
Cereal: Cut 200mg per ounce
Use oats (0mg), not corn flakes (200mg).
Peanuts: Cut 228mg per ounce
Use unsalted dry-roasted (2mg), not salted dry-roasted (230mg).
Cheese: Cut 245mg per ounce
Use cheddar (176mg), not processed American (421mg).
Popcorn: Cut at least 50mg per cup
Use air-popped (0mg), not regular microwave (50mg or more).
Scientific sources for this article:
Salt sensitivity and shorter life
Hypertension 2001; 37:429-432
Salt and blood pressure
Sacks, FM New England J. of Medicine, 2001 Jan 4;344 (1): 3-10
Svetkey LP, Sacks, FM. J Am Diet Assoc 1999;99(suppl 8):S96-104
Salt and strokes
He J. JAMA 1999 Dec 1; 282(21): 2027-34
Stroke; 1999, 30:529-536
Salt and heartburn
Nilsson M. Gut 2004 dec; 53(12): 1730-5
This EatSmart column is reprinted from USAWEEKEND Magazine and is copyrighted by Jean Carper. It cannot be reprinted without permission from Jean Carper.
Article updated on: June 26th, 2005