Salt has been branded as the scourge of our good health.
The problem is not the salt you add to food. The problem is the salt that is already in food--and you may not even realize it.
Think of it as hidden salt.
In fact, most of the salt we consume we never see. It's found in packaged, processed and restaurant foods.
While sodium is an essential mineral that helps the body maintain fluid balance, too much salt raises your risk of high blood pressure and that, in turn, increases your risk for heart attack and stroke. Processed foods that contain high amounts of salt may also boost your risk for certain types of cancer.
"Most Americans are consuming too much salt, and it's coming from a lot of commonly consumed foods," explains Zerleen Quader, an analyst with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia and lead author of this study to determine which foods have the most salt.
If you want to reduce your salt intake, you absolutely must know the hidden sources.
The top 10 surprising foods that are loaded with hidden salt:
1. Bread made with yeast
4. Cold cuts and cured meats
6. Burritos and tacos
7. Salted snacks
8. Fresh chicken
10. Eggs and omelets
The CDC found that 44 percent of our salt intake comes from these 10 foods.
How much salt is OK? One teaspoon of table salt is the most you should have in a day. That one teaspoon has 2,300 milligrams of sodium. The American Heart Association says the ideal amount of sodium is no more than 1,500 milligrams. Now the CDC report has found that Americans typically consume 3,400 milligrams of sodium daily--more than double the ideal amount.
How can you lower your salt intake?
- Read food labels when shopping and choose items with the lowest amount of salt.
- When you're cooking at home, use fresh herbs to season food instead of salt.
- When you dine out, ask for meals made with less salt.
- Eat more fresh foods instead of processed foods.
The study findings were published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
--From the Editors at Netscape