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For a few weeks now, I have been trying (<---key term) to watch my sodium intake. Believe me, this is harder than it seems. I love salt. I eat salt on everything - eggs, pasta, even bagels (I like my butter saltier) and fruit (it's a Southern thing?) I could eat salt by itself. If I have one true food love, this would be it. As the Time article states - salt is like cocaine for you mouth - it makes everything your mouth encounters seem vivid and fun. I completely agree with this statement.
The other day, though, I stumbled upon an article about the downfalls of salt, and how we as a nation are eating way too much of it (along with everything else). Time Magazine states that most people are consuming on average a teaspoon and a half of sodium per day - more than double the 1500mg we actually need. However, they also say that only 11% of the salt that we consume comes from adding salt to our foods at the dinner table - the rest is already added in processed and packaged foods. FitSugar says that most people really don't grasp how high the added sodium is in our packaged or restaurant food - for example two slices of pepperoni pizza contains about 1365mg of salt - almost your entire day's worth!
The FitSugar article goes on to state that excess sodium in your diet has been linked to an increase in blood pressure, which can put you at risk for heart problems and stroke. In addition, salt adds work for your kidneys, which can increase your risk of kidney disease and stomach cancer. Clearly, too much salt in our diet has grave consequences, and is something that should be looked at and possibly worked on (although I am not agreeing that we should ban salt or force places to reduce their sodium as the Time article discusses. I am more stating that as individuals perhaps we should be responsible for monitoring our own salt intake).
So this article begged the question for me - if I don't eat as much processed foods as the "typical" American, am I okay to add salt to my food? Thinking that the measurement that they were comparing this abundance of salt to was a teaspoon and a half, I'm not sure that I'm actually better off adding it since I tend to overdo it so much. However, perhaps I should approach it different and try to just "cut back" instead of cutting salt out completely. Since I really don't eat processed or packaged food very often, I know that I am not getting that added sodium. So maybe I am still allowed to add my salt....(please?!)
Do you have a salt weakness? What are your tips on trying to cut back? Do you have a great substitute for adding salt that you want to share? Please do! I want to hear your feedback!