Four Things You May Not Know About Salt Consumption

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health, Food and Nutrition
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

If you’re working hard to prevent heart attack and stroke, as well as the occurrence of other cardiovascular problems, you need to beware of the dangers associated with salt. 

As any decent doctor or holistic practitioner will tell you, having too much salt in your system can make it difficult for you to maintain healthy blood pressure levels, as well as healthy cholesterol levels.  In fact, too much salt can severely compromise your overall health and force you to deal with a myriad of serious heart risk factors you’d do well to avoid.

Here are four things you may not know about salt consumption:

  1. Your body requires sodium (a component of salt) to regulate fluid balance and distribution, as well as nerve and muscle cell function. Although you need some sodium, the standard American diet includes way too much. That’s why I urge my patients to try what I often refer to as "the healthiest diet of all." You'll be amazed at how effective it can be.
  2. The current recommendation for salt consumption is less than 2,400 mg of sodium a day, which amounts to about one teaspoon of salt. Recent research suggests that people ingesting less than 1,500 mg of sodium a day are better able to keep their blood pressure low. If you have high blood pressure, you should definitely aim for that kind of level. Don’t use salt from the shaker, and read labels to add up the amount you’re taking in.
  3. Many items at fast food restaurants are high in salt, so you can easily exceed the recommended level with one serving.
  4. You can easily make up for the reduced salt in your diet by cooking with fresh herbs and spices such as basil, garlic, oregano, rosemary, chives, parsley, and onion. What’s more, all of these flavorings contain natural substances that are good for your health. Garlic, in particular, has been shown to have a positive effect on blood pressure when consumed on a daily basis.

I hope you'll share this information with your friends and loved ones. It's just another example of how you can do something simple to help control your cardiovascular health.

For more information on blood pressure levels and other cardiovascular problems, visit www.drsinatra.com.

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