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why do we need some salt in our diet

Most of us eat about 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day. Downsizing our sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams daily would have
major health benefits, slashing 16 million of the nationБs 68 million cases of hypertension and saving $26 billion health care dollars, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In 2004, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) agreed, advising anyone over age 50, of African-American descent or with high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease or diabetes to limit their sodium to 1,500 milligrams.

ThatБs nearly half of all Americans. The rest of us were advised to keep our numbers below 2,300 milligrams, the amount in roughly a teaspoon of salt. Then in May of 2013, in an apparent about-face, the IOM released a report concluding that too little sodium may be equally problematic for some people, particularly those with congestive heart failure.

Even more startling, it announced there was no solid evidence that people with diabetes, kidney disease or cardiovascular disease would benefit from the previous 1,500-milligram cap and instead stated that 2,300 milligrams would be more appropriate. However, if you read the reportБs fine print youБll find that the IOM admits that the data used to make the updated 2013 recommendations contains gaps in its methodology.

WhatБs more, shortly after its announcement, one of the main studies that the IOM report relied on was retracted by the journal Heart, leaving us more confused than ever. Processed foods are the first place to start when you want to seriously cut back on sodium intake, which is on average 3,400 mg per day for Americans, according to MayoClinic. com. You have no need for adding salt during cooking or while eating.

Reading the labels of processed foods will help you cut back on sodium. Foods labeled as low-sodium contain less than 140 mg per serving; foods that say they contain no sodium have less than 5 mg. Reduced-sodium foods must contain at least 25 percent less sodium than the referenced item. Reduced-sodium soups, for example, contain at least 25 percent less sodium than the same type of regular soup.

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