So just how much sodium is in a teaspoon of salt? Too much according to federal officials who want Americans to cut back their daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams, which is less than one teaspoon of salt.
The new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health, echo the governments 2005 recommendations on how sodium should be consumed on a daily basis, which calls for no more than a teaspoon of salt for those under 50 years of age. They also recommend a daily sodium intake of a 1,500-miligrams, or half a teaspoon, for people 51 and older, African Americans; and people with a hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
Based on those recommendations about half of the American Population falls into the below 1,500 recommendation. The feds estimate that fewer than 15 percent of Americans actually consume less than the 2,300-milligram recommendation.
The American Heart Association recommends that all Americans, not only those at risk, consume only 1,500 milligrams of salt daily. The association also reports that most American’s consume over 3,000 to 3,600 hundred milligrams daily when they only need no more than 200 milligrams.
Consuming too much sodium can lead to raised blood pressure, strokes, heart disease and heart attacks.
But the increase in the consumption of sodium is not from the salt shaker on the kitchen table.
“Salt added at the table and in the cooking only provides a small proportion of the total sodium Americans consume, “ the U.S. guidelines states. “Most sodium from salt is added during food processing. Many types of processed food contribute to high levels of sodium.”
Researchers and doctors recommend that ever person follow a few steps to lower their intake. The include:
10. Cook fresh. Avoid processed food.
9. Read nutrition facts, and compare the sodium levels. Choose the one with the lowest number.
8. Scan labels for the word soda, soda bicarbonate, baking soda or “Na” to see if the product contains sodium.
7. Drain and rinse canned foods if possible, to remove some of the salt.
6. Use as little salt in cooking as possible, especially when using salty ingredients like cheese, olives, and mustard and soy choice.
5. Use black pepper, hot sauce, fresh or dried herbs, lime, garlic, and onion to replace salt.
4. Hide the salt shaker when eating.
3. Pay Attention to serving sizes and the amount of salt per serving.
2. Ask for your meal to be prepared without salt when dining out.
1. Check the drugs you take; some have high amounts of sodium. Check with your doctor or pharmacists if you have nay doubts.