Salt-composed of sodium and chloride-is a mineral that is ubiquitous in the food supply. Unfortunately, this means that it is too easy to take in large quantities without even realizing it. We only need 1,500 mg per day, and yet, the average American consumes 3,466 mg daily. High amounts can lead to or exacerbate high blood pressure, can increase the risk of gastric cancer, and are taxing on the kidneys. Many people are also salt-sensitive. A mere teaspoon of salt contains 2,300 mg of sodium, which is already more than our daily requirement. To prevent over consumption, limit processed foods, cheese, many restaurant dishes, and cook with as little salt as possible. Further, add the salt you cook with towards the end of cooking so the flavor will be noticeable. Remember that your palate quickly adjusts to how much salt you consume…the more you have, the more you need. It is easy to slowly wean off salt, and eventually, you will notice you don’t prefer salty foods.
By Julieanna Hever, R.D.