Salt is one of the body’s primary electrolytes. We need salt, but not too much of it.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services now state that Americans should limit their salt intake to just 1500 milligrams a day.
That isn’t even half a teaspoon. This recommended amount does not include salt that is found in other foods.
Alice O’Connor is a clinical dietitian at the Baystate Medical Center.
O’Connor states, “My concern is people are going to look at these guidelines and say ‘Oh I can have half a teaspoon of salt a day,’ but what they don’t realize is that all foods naturally contain a certain amount of sodium. The more processed the food is, the more sodium or salt it’s going to contain.”
Consuming too much salt can result in a number of problems, more serious than the occasional muscle cramp or feelings of dizziness.
Excess salt consumption can cause stroke, cardiovascular disease, cardiac enlargement, osteoporosis, and can even be fatal if enough is ingested in a short amount of time.
To best handle this new recommendation, dietitians suggest unprocessed foods to avoid excess salt intake.