Surely they must be kidding. The latest scientific study on the effects of too much salt in our diet concludes that one scant teaspoon a day is the limit; that's 2400 milligrams of sodium. Too much salt can lead to all sorts of health problems from high blood pressure to stroke.
Well most of us would hardly get past the salt shaker in order to adhere to this new finding.
Why? Just take a look on the back of some of your favorite foods, like canned soup, canned vegetables, or anything else you enjoy from a can. Listed on the label is the amount of salt.
One cup of canned chicken broth, 860 milligrams. And dry packaged foods are culprits too. Three-quarter of a cup of Wheat Chex, 340 milligrams; eleven Pepperidge Farm baked thin pretzels weigh in at 340 milligrams; and snacks like baked tortilla chips have a surprising 55 milligrams in a serving of fifteen chips. But who ever stopped at fifteen?
Salt occurs naturally in most of the foods we eat. A four ounce piece of cooked Coho salmon for instance, has 59 milligrams of salt. And yet physicians tell us to eat more healthy foods low in salt like fish.
The point is we need salt in our diet to control fluid balance and the way our muscles and nerves function. But too much can throw everything out of whack. So besides reading the labels on all the foods you buy, here are five other steps you can take to get past the salt:
Take the salt shaker off the table (Get to love the pepper shaker). (Photo from Flickr: shabdaly)
Eat more fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned ones. (Photo by BrianYarvin / Serious Eats)
Season food with fresh herbs and spices (how bad can a piece of rosemary scented chicken be?) (Photo from Flickr: tvol)
Eliminate luncheon meats, bacon and hot dogs, all high in sodium. (Opt for 2 tablespoons of peanut butter at 130 milligrams). (Photo from Flickr: mollypop)
Use fresh squeezed citrus juices to liven up foods (and get a dose of Vitamic C too!). (Photo from Flickr: *clairity*)
Pass up the salty snacks like pretzels and potato chips. (Grab an apple instead and if you must have a snack, air pop some popcorn and use a salt substitute. (Photo from Flickr: Joe Shlabotnik)
Want more tips like this? Visit the Ciao Italia Blog!