Health Tips

The Salty Truth

A sprinkle here and a dash there… What harm can a little salt do?

Plenty. Most people consume about 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day, more than twice the 1,500 milligrams recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA). This can lead to multiple cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure and damage to the heart,  kidneys and blood vessels.

Only about 10 percent of our sodium intake comes from home cooking. The real culprit is processed foods and eating in restaurants, where it’s nearly impossible to control your food’s sodium content. Especially when eating out, try to avoid sodium-packed foods like those the Heart Association coins coined the “salty six”:

 

 

Unless you’re running a marathon in the middle of summer, about one half teaspoon of salt is all most people need a day, regardless of age. But it’s difficult to judge the amount of salt you’re getting, even from a salt shaker, so here are some guidelines in milligrams:

 

 

Eliminating all salt from your diet is virtually impossible and not recommended since salt is important for maintaining a healthy blood pressure, as well as nerve and muscle function. However, you can greatly reduce your intake by buying and preparing fresh, healthy foods yourself so you can remain in control.

Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus and in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Schedule an appointment online today.

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