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Easy Ways to Cut the Salt

By Sara Butler

Your body needs salt, also known as sodium, to stay healthy. In fact, this mineral is crucial to the proper functioning of your muscles, nerves, and fluid balance. But too much salt can have a detrimental impact on your health and wellness, leading to serious health problems such as high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. The answer is to cut back on the salt in your diet, but how? Here are a few easy things you can start today that can make a difference.

The Right Amount

Before sharing with you how to cut down on sodium in your diet, it's important to understand how much you actually need per day. According to the Food and Drug Administration, 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day should be your limit. If you have a heart condition, then that number should be below 1,500 milligrams per day -- which is actually equivalent to only about a teaspoon of salt. Considering that the average American eats about 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day, you can see how cutting back needs to be a priority.

Look at the Label

One of the easiest ways to cut back on the sodium in your diet is to notice how much you're eating in the first place. Look at the nutrition labels of the foods you buy. Sodium content is listed there, making it easy to identify how much sodium a food contains.

You may also notice that many labels advertise food as being low sodium or sodium-free. It's always a good idea to check the label and not simply take their word for it. Sodium-free foods should have less than five 5 milligrams per serving while very low sodium foods should have less than 35 milligrams. Low sodium foods should contain less than 5 percent of your daily serving of sodium, lightly salted foods should have about half of the salt you find in the more traditional version of the same food, and no added salt foods do not add salt during processing. Always check the label to see what you're getting!

Sneak a Peek at Serving Sizes

Nutrition labels are a really great way to keep tabs on what you're eating, but if you don't know how to use them, then they're not as helpful as they could be. Serving size is one place you should always pay attention to when looking at a portion of food. After all, one serving of lightly salted popcorn may not be so bad, but an entire bowl could blow your entire sodium intake for the day.

Also make it a practice to measure out the serving size of the food you're eating until you get a feel for what constitutes common measurements such as half-cup, cup, and so forth.

If you have questions about sodium in your diet, then the chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic are an excellent resource for more information.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Lynnwood, Wash.

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