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Cutting Salt Intake

By: James Southland

Excess salt intake can lead to health problems. New proposed recommendations suggest limiting one's daily salt intake from 2300 mg to 1500 mg. Most Americans currently consume more than 3400 mg per day of sodium.

An excess amount of salt in the diet can lead to negative consequences for your health. As a result, the U.S. government is encouraging Americans to reduce their daily salt intake by advocating for new dietary guidelines.

A panel appointed by the Agriculture Department and Health and Human Services Department has released preliminary dietary recommendations that suggest reducing sodium intake from the current 2300 mg per day to 1500 mg per day. Earlier this year, the Institute of Medicine released recommendations suggesting that 1500 mg of salt per day was appropriate for individuals under the age of 50. The average amount of salt consumed in the daily diet is currently more than 3400 mg.

The U.S. government wants people to be more aware of their salt intake and to lower the amount of sodium in their diets in order to reduce their risk of certain conditions. Excess salt can raise blood pressure, leading to increased risk of heart disease. Many foods are naturally high in sodium; however, other foods contain additive salts. For example, processed foods like deli meats often contain excess amounts of salt. Even frozen foods, some of which are marketed as diet or health foods, can contain high amounts of salt.
The new dietary guidelines address other aspects of the American diet as well. The advisory panel also recommends that individuals consume more plant-based foods, such as vegetables, beans, peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, rather than centering their diets on meat. They also recommend improving education on nutrition, cooking, and safe food handling in order to encourage families and children to prepare healthy foods at home. They also aim to improve the affordability of fresh produce and access to healthy foods in lower income areas.

These recommendations should be carefully considered by every American who wants to lead a healthier lifestyle.

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