Table salt is a combination of sodium and chloride. Too much sodium in our diet causes high blood pressure in some people, which can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500 mg sodium per day for a heart-healthy diet.
To get a visual picture of just how much salt we're talking about, use this information:
1/4 teaspoon salt = 600 mg sodium
1/2 teaspoon salt = 1,200 mg sodium
3/4 teaspoon salt = 1,800 mg sodium
1 teaspoon salt = 2,300 mg sodium
Sixty-one percent of the people in a recent survey believe that sea salt contains less sodium than table salt. Sea salt and kosher salt actually contain the same amount of sodium as table salt. The only difference is that the sea salt crystals are a bit larger, so you might use less. Using less total added salt is the most important goal, whether the salt comes from sea salt, kosher salt, or herb/salt blends such as garlic salt.
Kicking the salt shaker habit is a good start toward improving your heart health, but up to 75 percent of the sodium we consume is found in processed foods such
Here's how to decipher sodium content on food labels:
* "Sodium free" or "Salt free": Contains less than five milligrams of sodium per serving.
* "Unsalted" or "No salt added": No salt has been added in processing, but the food could naturally contain some sodium.
* "Very low in sodium": Provides 35 milligrams of sodium (or less) per serving.
* "Low in sodium" or "Contains a small amount of sodium": Contains 140 milligrams of sodium (or less) per serving.
* "Reduced sodium" or "Less sodium": Provides at least 25 percent less sodium than the traditional product.
Lynn Grieger, RD, CDE, cPT is a health, food and fitness coach in Manchester and online at www.LynnGrieger.com. She now enjoys low-sodium V8.