Saturday, January 21, 2006


The excess amount of salt in the American diet has been identified as a contributing factor to high blood pressure, kidney damage, premenstrual water retention and swelling, ringing in the ears, and heart disease. A teaspoon of salt contains approximately 2,000 milligrams of sodium, a level considered within the safe range (1,100 to 3,300 milligrams) by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences. But current estimates of the daily sodium intake by most adults range from 2,300 milligrams to 6,900 milligrams--which means that some individuals get all the salt they need for a week in one day.

If you cut down on salt apparently you'll lose your taste for it, according to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania who report that "long-term reduction in dietary sodium alters the taste for salt." If you cut back on salt for only a short time, however, you will crave it; it's the long-term reduction that changes your taste buds so you can appreciate the natural flavor of food.

Even though it's sold in health food stores, sea salt has the same effect as regular table salt. (It is more potent in taste.) When you're reading labels at the supermarket, here's what to avoid:

Sodium chloride
Monosodium glutamate
Baking Soda
Baking Powder
Any additive that contains sodium as part of its identification
by Robert M. Giller, M.D. "Medical Makeover"

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