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Shake The Salt

A new review from Cochrane Collaborations, published in the British Medical Journal, finds cutting down on salt in your diet can lower blood pressure by more than 4(systolic) AND 2 (diastolic).

It is easier said than done. Americans love salt. Most of us eat too much of it. Salt intake has increased 69% in women and 48% in men since the 1970s. More Info

In general, dietary guidelines say you should consume no more than a teaspoon of table salt each day (equivalent of 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium). Older individuals, anyone with high blood pressure, and African Americans are more sensitive to salt. They should consume even less: no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. Most Americans consume more than twice what is recommended: On average about 3900 mg of sodium a day.

But just taking away the salt shaker won’t solve the problem. Only 6% of our salt intake is added at the table. Another 5% is added during cooking. But three quarters of it comes from processed foods and foods served in restaurants. That’s why food industry collaboration is needed to truly make a dent in our salt intake. Remember: they won’t make it that way if we don’t buy it.

And pay attention to the nutritional information on food labels … especially that number for sodium.

For more information:
Read my salt discussion on WebMD’s Medscape: Halt the Salt, Please