. . . a modest reduction could reduce hypertension by up to 30% Dietary salt intake in the US is on the rise. According to a study on salt consumption done a couple of years ago at the University of California at San Francisco, this increase is primarily due to our growing consumption of processed foods, which currently supply 75-80% of the salt content in the American diet. These researchers calculated that lowering salt consumption by 3 grams a day would reduce the number of men with high blood pressure by 22-34%; reduce the number of women with high blood pressure by 16-24%; greatly diminish new cases of coronary heart disease, strokes, heart attacks and all-cause death; and save $10-24 billion yearly in health care costs. The US Department of Health and Human Services as well as the Department of Agriculture recommend limiting salt to less than 5.8 grams a day (that’s about one teaspoon of salt and 2,300 mg of sodium), and less than 3.7 grams a day (about ¾ teaspoon) for those over the age of 40, for blacks, and for those with hypertension. But the average American male consumes 10.4 grams of salt a day; the average woman 7.3 grams. Limiting salt consumption (I recommend less than a ½ teaspoon a day of high-quality salt, such as our Celtic Sea Salt) is one of the best things you can do not just for your heart and cardiovascular system, but for your total health. Evidence suggests that humans evolved on a diet with four times more potassium than sodium, and human breast milk contains three times more potassium than sodium. But the standard American diet (SAD) has four times more sodium than potassium. As I’ve gone into in more depth in all of my books, this sodium/potassium imbalance damages the body’s electrical system, and with it, every cell. Cancer, osteoporosis, and fatigue are just three of the many negative consequences of excess sodium from salt. Fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, contain lots of potassium. To get the right sodium/potassium balance, cut out processed foods, eat more fruits and vegetables, and limit added table salt to a maximum of ½ teaspoon daily. One delicious way to dispense with salt and add more potassium to your diet is with green drinks made in a VitaMix! Foods that are high in potassium include bananas, oranges, avocados, tomatoes, broccoli, lima beans, melons, cucumber, papayas, mangos, kiwi, spinach and parsley.
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