There has been a lot of discussion about salt and how much you should be taking per day.
While a number of times you might have been warned that you are taking more than the required amount, other times you have been reminded that you shouldn’t consume less salt.
So how much salt is enough?
Sodium — often simply referred to as salt — is found in nearly everything you eat and drink.
It occurs naturally in many foods, is added to others during the manufacturing process and is used as a flavoring agent at home and restaurants.
Sodium has been linked to high blood pressure, which causes damage to your blood vessels and arteries when chronically elevated. In turn, this increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, heart failure and kidney disease.
The World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and American Heart Association all recommend keeping sodium under 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) suggests aiming for about 1,500 mg per day.
That translates to about 2/3 of a teaspoon.
Your taste for salt is acquired, so you can learn to enjoy less. Decrease your use of salt gradually and your taste buds will adjust. Consider using salt-free seasonings to help with the transition.
After a few weeks of cutting back on salt, you probably won’t miss it, and some foods may even taste too salty. Start by using no more than 1/4 teaspoon of salt daily — at the table and in cooking. Then throw away the saltshaker. As you use less salt, your preference for it diminishes, allowing you to enjoy the taste of the food itself, with heart-healthy benefits.