The next time you're tempted to add a little salt to your food, you might want to think twice.
The latest research says that when it comes to salt, we may be overdoing it. Nutritionist Leslie Beck joined Balance Television host Dr. Marla Shapiro to show us other ways that we can pass on the salt.
Health Canada sets the adequate intake of sodium for women at 1500 mg daily, and a tolerable upper intake level of 2300 mg/day. "[2300 mg is] the amount of sodium that's found in one teaspoon of salt," says Beck. "But we know recent research shows we're getting more than that. The average Canadian man gets about 3,500 mg of sodium every day and women 2,500 mg."
Beck noted that kids should also be limiting their sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg each day.
If you're chronically eating a diet that's high in salt you have a higher risk for getting high blood pressure and that increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. Beck pointed out that those people who are at risk for getting high blood pressure, cutting sodium from the diet reduces the chances of getting the condition. For those who already have high blood pressure, cutting down on salt helps to lower it. Beyond that, there are some studies that suggest too much salt over a period of time can increase the risk of osteoporosis and kidney problems.
"Seventy-five per cent of our salt intake comes from processed and restaurant foods," Beck said. "Only a quarter of the salt in our diet comes from that salt shaker."
Foods high in sodium
• Some of the worst culprits are processed meats, things like sausage, bacon, luncheon meats.
• Three slices of lean ham has 1,025 mg of sodium, which is almost half of our daily recommended intake.
• Smoked fish is another culprit for being high in sodium.
• Read the labels on canned vegetables, canned soup, canned tomato-type products that are typically high in sodium.
• One cup of canned soup will have anywhere from 600 to 1,300 mg of sodium.
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• Frozen dinners can have anywhere from 500 to up to 1,600 mg of sodium
• Pretzels can be a low-fat snack but a quarter-cup of pretzels can have up to 700 mg of sodium.
• Pickled products and sauces you cook with can be high in salt.
"You really have to watch if you're having a high-salt food you've got to watch what you do for the rest of the day," Beck said.
Also, be sure to drink a lot of water. Beck said the average female should be getting eight cups of fluid a day and the average man, 12 cups of fluid a day. Most importantly, be sure to read the food labels on the products you're buying.
"Now that we're getting our new (food) labels... choose food products that list no more than 20 per cent of the daily value as sodium," Beck said. "You're looking for things like low-sodium, low in salt, sodium-free and basically low in sodium, low in salt means that there will be 50 per cent less sodium there as in the original product."
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