Salt is the key ingredient to make or break your food. But how much salt do you need in your daily diet? According to FDA, an average American consumes 3,400 mg of sodium daily. However, coming down to the nutritional aspect, it should be no more than 2,300 mg of sodium. That makes it just a tablespoon of salt daily. For children, the amount is even lesser.
Also, it is about what salt you prefer. The reason is that regular table salt is processed to the limit that it eliminates minerals. The naturally occurring sea salt and other salt alternatives are alkaline minerals; that's why many people have lately settled for these options. Let's know the amount you, as an individual, are supposed to consume depending on a few of the factors.
Also, you can check out these sugar alternatives.
Benefits Of Sodium
It is not just your taste buds. Even your body has significant benefits from consuming daily sodium intake. To list a few of them, here are the following.
- It helps to maintain the body's electrolytes
- It controls blood pressure
- It maintains balance in the fluid levels
- It helps nerves and muscles to function efficiently
Sodium In Your Regular Food
It's just not the table salt that you use for cooking. Even marinating, garnishing, seasoning, and spices might have salt. Salt is a multi-tasking element for your plate, from curing raw meat, baking, emulsifying, and elevating the flavor to retaining moisture in your food. It acts as sodium ions which are essential functions of the body. Anything less or more than the required amount may have an adverse effect on the body.
Surprisingly, even any food product that is not supposed to be salty can also have a firm amount of salt. Check for the packaging and labels to find these common food additives such as glutamate (MSG), sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), sodium nitrite, and sodium benzoate. These products also have some salt content in them.
Salt consumption is based on primary factors such as age, weight, climate, food habits, lifestyle, and environment. So, let's find out these in detail.
According to age
- Children between ages 1 to 3 should not consume more than 1000 mg of sodium.
- Children aged 4 to 8 should not have more than 1,200 mg of sodium.
- People under the age group of 9 to 50 should not consume more than 1,500 mg to 2,300 mg of sodium.
- And for 51 to 70, the salt intake should be 1,300 mg of sodium.
- People over 70 years of age should not consume more than 1,200 mg of sodium.
According to weight
Salt consumption is associated with weight management. Also, it affects you directly if you are trying to reduce or gain weight. 2,300 mg should be the limit for daily sodium consumption for people trying to put on some weight. However, the limit should not cross 1,500 mg of sodium daily for people trying to lose weight.
According to climate
The summer season needs more salt intake because of the loss of sodium from the body due to perspiration. Conversely, less salt should be consumed in winter since the body's salt retaining ability is higher than in summer.
According to lifestyle
Various factors are needed to consider when it comes to your lifestyle that decides your salt intake. So, let's find that out individually.
- Sportspeople and field workers require more salt intake than those usually working indoors.
- People suffering from high blood pressure and heart disease should avoid taking salt that exceeds their prescribed amount.
- Pregnant women should always consult before changing the amount of salt intake.
- For lactating mothers, it is very crucial to have enough salt intake.
- People following ketogenic, vegan, or gluten-free diets should always consult their dietician before putting an extra pinch of salt in their salad.
- People suffering from hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism should avoid processed foods to avoid excessive salt intake.
- People suffering from cardiovascular diseases should limit their salt consumption by 2000 mg sodium daily.
Over or Under Salt Consumption
Salt is an essential ingredient in our diet that regulates the taste and your body's normal functioning. Hyponatremia, when your body's average salt intake reduces below 200, your body starts to collide from muscle cramps, lower blood sugar, nausea, and dizziness.
Overconsumption of salt might lead to the heart muscle, headaches, high blood pressure, kidney disease, kidney stones, osteoporosis, and stroke.
How To Reduce Salt Intake
It is not easy to reduce the salt intake from your daily diet. However, you can make significant differences faster with a few little changes.
- Make sure you read the nutritional and ingredients label of your packaged food.
- Avoid processed and fast food as much as possible.
- Rinse your canned raw food that might have been dipped in salt to preserve it longer.
- Add herbs, seasonings, and less processed salt options. But make sure to use the controlled amount.
Salt is healthy as long as you are not overdoing it. Salt is healthy as long as you are not overdoing it. So, besides your palate, don't forget to take care of your health, keeping your daily salt consumption in mind.