Reviewed March 2016
Strategies to reduce salt in the diet. I know that many of you have heard the Institute of Medicine report saying that Americans consume unhealthy amounts of sodium in their food, far exceeding public health recommendations, and it is a concern for all individuals because it raises the risk of high blood pressure, a health condition that’s avoidable and can lead to a variety of illnesses. The studies coming out show that population-wide reductions in salt could prevent more than 100,000 deaths annually.
Now here’s the problem. I know you think, oh, well, it’s the salt that I put on my food. But that’s not it. Over the years, from the 1970s until now, processed food has had more and more sodium added to it and so our taste buds have become acclimated to fast food that’s really high in hidden sodium. So we have this preference for salty food.
But guess what? All taste is learned. Did you know that? That’s true. When you’re a baby, you actually learn by what you’re fed to like certain things. There was one interesting study showing that infants whose mothers smoked and breastfed actually learned to prefer the taste of smoky breast milk because you could taste it in the breast milk.
So, having said that, the way you can decrease the sodium, I mean, don’t wait around for the government to get a handle on this because that’s going to take a long time, but the recommendation is no more than 2300 mg per day of sodium for people aged two or more. That’s about one teaspoon of salt per day, even though most people consume 50% more than that.
But the way you decrease sodium in your diet is to simply increase your intake of fruits and vegetables and stuff that’s not fast food, that’s not pre-prepared. Prepare it at home. Get real food. And then you won’t have any problem.
And by the way, then you can use some nice sea salt or some kelp salt or something like that to spice up your food, but because it won’t contain excess sodium to begin with you’ll be okay. You’ll also be getting very healthy amounts of potassium from the fruits and vegetables, and that’s really important.
Please understand that you will be able to change your taste buds around this salt thing simply by starting in and just doing it. I’ll bet you you can change your taste in about a week. So give it a try and you’ll be healthy for it.