Body Blog: DON’T Pass the Salt, Please

Bad news. Bad, bad news.

There are certain things we just know are bad for us.

Smoking? Check.
Too much Jersey Shore? Check.
Tanning beds? Check.
Drunk texting? Again, check.

But salt? Salty, delicious salt?

Brace yourself, ladies; new research is out and it looks like my favorite condiment (slash de-icer) is a whole lot worse for us than I originally thought.

According to most health experts, we’re only supposed to consume one teaspoon of salt per day. That’s it. In an entire day. Guess how much salt the average American consumes per day? Two to three times that amount! And when you go over, you’re really screwing yourself over.  New York knows it – they are urging “food manufacturers and restaurant chains to reduce salt in their products nationwide by 25 percent over the next five years.”

That’s a serious step; can salt really be that bad for us? The answer is apparently a resounding YES. If you’re consuming too much sodium, water retention (read: bloating) is the least of your problems; you are also increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, heart attack and high blood pressure. And it gets worse; new studies even show  that “reducing salt in the American diet by as little as one-half teaspoon per day could prevent nearly 92,000 deaths each year.”

Yup, they brought the D-word into it and everything.

Like you, I’m now going through my cabinets ominously. Salt is effing everywhere! Even in my pudding cups! What am I supposed to eat? Carrot sticks and water?! OK, pause. Breathe. Put down that bag of Doritos. And the cheese dip.

Here are a few tips from the Mayo Clinic to help you cut down on your salt intake without cutting down on taste:

1. Eat fresh, not processed. This means buying less pre-prepared stuff, which is chock full of sodium, and eating more veggies and fruits. This also applies to meat; fresh meat has less sodium than lunch meat!

2. Campbell’s is Mm-mm-good with less salt, too. There are low-sodium options of nearly all of your favorite foods and many of them taste just as good. Read your nutrition labels closely and go for the lower-sodium options.

3. Soy sauce is not your friend. Clearly we can’t just get rid of all of our favorite condiments, but try to limit salad dressing, dips, sauces, ketchup, mustard, etc. They all have salt and cutting back on them is the quickest and easiest way to reduce that salt intake.

Saturday Read: YOU on a Diet, by Dr. Oz
Saturday Read: YOU on a Diet, by Dr. Oz
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