We all know that we need to watch our carb intake, and also fat and sugar, but we often tend to forget about salt. Well, except for those of us diagnosed with high blood pressure, that is. Still, more often than not, we don’t usually think twice about opening an extra-large back of salty chips…
Now, salt is important, there’s no doubt about that. It helps maintain the balance of our body fluids, it’s crucial for our nervous and muscular systems, and so on. Too much salt, though, can eventually lead to increased blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, and heart failure. But how much is too much salt?
First of all, it’s actually your sodium intake that you need to monitor—salt itself is a combination of sodium and chloride. One teaspoon of salt contains about 2.300 mg of sodium, give or take a bit, which is exactly what the recommended daily limit is. And if you’re over 50 or if you are already suffering from high blood pressure, that limit gets chopped to 1.500 mg per day.
(Side note: Processed food items usually list their sodium content on the packaging instead of salt content. If you want to know how much actual salt there is, just multiply the sodium weight by 2,5.)
More importantly, though, 2.300 or 1.500 mg per day is the upper limit, and we should aim to take in less than that—which is not exactly easy. A cup of low-fat milk, for example, already packs in 100 mg of sodium, while one tablespoon of salty soy sauce has 1.000. Still, the primary source of sodium in most people’s diets is processed food, especially fast food such as pizza. So, I guess we know where to begin, right?