Health & Wellness

Shaking the Salt Habit

A recent study published in the British Medical Journal could have you shaking the salt habit. According to the study, which examined the results of 13 studies involving more than 170,000 people over 12 years, consuming just an extra teaspoon of salt a day increases a person’s risk of suffering a stroke by 23 percent and the risk of developing heart disease by 17 percent. That translates to more than 10,000 heart attacks and strokes directly attributed to excess salt consumption, said researchers. What’s more, the study estimated that if people worldwide limited their salt intake to no more than five grams a day-one teaspoon-as many as three million deaths from cardiovascular disease and 250,000 deaths from stoke could be averted each year.

The World Health Organization recommends that people consume just five grams of salt per day, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends the daily intake be limited to 5.8 grams. On average, Americans consume about ten grams of salt every day, or two teaspoons.

Quitting the Salt Habit

Although Americans have developed a taste for a high salt diet, there are steps you can take to break the habit and reduce your risk for high blood pressure. One way you can control your salt intake is to avoid adding salt to your meals. Limiting the amount of processed and packaged foods you eat, which contains high amounts of sodium, can help too. Because sodium holds excess fluid in the body, placing an added strain on your heart, reducing the amount of sodium you consume can help lower your blood pressure or prevent it from developing in the first place.

If your blood pressure is 120/80 Hg or higher, talk to you doctor about how a low- or no-salt diet can help you bring it down. Keep in mind that sodium chloride, or table salt, is approximately 40 percent sodium. According to the American Heart Association, aim to eat less than 2,300 mg of sodium (one teaspoon of salt) per day. African-Americans, middle age and older adults and people with high blood pressure should strive for less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.

You can unlearn your craving for salt by adding naturally low-salt foods into your diet. Stick to fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes (dried beans, lentils, split peas) over processed and fast foods. Using salt-free herbs and spices in your meals in place of salt will give you the taste you want without the sodium.

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Jim Turner
10 years ago

I believe sea salt may be a little bit better for you than regular table salt because it has other minerals in it but salt is still salt Sodium Chloride, sodium and chloride are both poison we need some salt just to live but to much of either or both can kill you.

11 years ago

I don’t believe that salt by itself is bad for you, it’s the amount you ingest. I can eat a whole large bag of chips, and I will gain about 10 lbs. of water weight which it will take about a week to get rid of. However, if I eat a small bag of chips, it doesn’t bother me. I have a craving for salty foods, so I deink a lot of coffee to counteract this.

Gary P
11 years ago

If it comes from any Medical Journal I wouldn’t put allot of stock in it. For many years they have been pumping the general public’s head full of crap. Why, because they have to pay for all the Beamers they drive. It’s all about filling their pockets!

Earl Ince
11 years ago

Include me for anything that will help seniors that AARP is not doing.

11 years ago

I, for no particular reason, never add salt to my food, with the exception of occasional hard boiled eggs. I firmly believe we are responsible for our OWN health. If we eat a little less and make reasonable changes gradually in our diet, exercise a bit and live with a positive and kind attitude we will live a happy longer life. I firmly believe genetics, of course are important, but attitude overcomes many of negative inherited traits. To All Readers..Live Long and Prosper!

Connie Schmidt
11 years ago

For many years now I’ve been reading that the processed salt is harmful, but switch to sea salt and the bad goes away. Our bodies need salt, but use SEA SALT!

Lane P
11 years ago

I better warn my mother quickly, she salts her food always and excessively. She just turned 100 last month, go to hurry….

11 years ago

So glad to see that members of AMAC are informed- unlike the AARP hooey. Yes, as most everyone else stated- you do need salt to run your body. And yes, it should be an unrefined salt. Dr Brownstein is a good source of info as one of the posts above said. There is an article by him on as well. One of the best ways to rein in the health care fiasco in this country is for people to start making the right choices when it comes to food, exercise and alternative methods of staying well- and getting themselves off of the all the drugs the Dr’s have them on!

Eric L.
11 years ago

My grandfather and father used salt tablets in summer for many years when working outside and sweating excessively. Our second largest body ingredient is as Cas stated is SALT. I believe a sedentary life style is a big contributor to poor health and to the contrary more active life styles need salt and potassium to feel better. Again, the PHD’s are justifying their existence.

Joan Johnson
11 years ago

Well, I say the proof is in trying it. If your blood pressure is a bit high, try lowering your salt intake and see what happens over about a months time. My pressure was around 145/85, I tried lowering my salt intake with lots of fresh veggies and stayed away from salty potato chips and othe pre-packaged foods. Now my blood pressure is around 120/70. I’d rather eat better and not resort to taking pills that may have unwanted side effects. So I say try it if your blood pressure is a bit high and see if it works for you before judging.

Sue Duby
11 years ago

Oh brother, here we go again. Go to and and read the benefits of SALT & water for humans & pets! We have heart attacks because we do not have enough of good celtic sea salt and water.

Janice P
11 years ago

Enjoyed these comments so much, I’m going to add one of my own. I do believe Dr Brownstein knows what he’s talking about. RealSalt or sea salt is available at Safeway, Albertson’s, most grocers. You don’t even have to head for a Health Food Store (but I sure do like those!) Real, unrefined, salt comes intact with minerals which our bodies need! I enjoy shopping online at for awesome prices and organic products. Use this code for $5 off: POR864. Free shipping too!

Cas VIsminas
11 years ago

A lot of hype… The second largest body ingredient is SALT. WE cant live without it…See Dr.Brownsteins news article “Don’t Believe the ‘NO SALT’ Myth ” in Natural Way to Health.. PHD’ S are filling the PUblic with poor info. with junk type research…

11 years ago

Am 83 years young and my salt intake is heavy, befor I even taste my food I reach for the shaker, I take no medicine,but a neighbor who uses no salt has a bad heart,diebetes and lord know what else, one make up dictates his ones health noy all this so called research.

11 years ago

The problem isn’t the salt or the sodium that our bodies need that are also in vegetables, But when you take table salt and heat it to 1200 degrees to process it, then it gets chemically altered. But the USDA is slow to show proof that all Sodium is bad.

11 years ago

Wow!!,, My grandfather should have read this. He would grab the salt shaker when he had his food on his plate and just salt everything. then he would hold the shaker with his left hand until he had tasted the food to see how much more salt to add.

Sure enough, the salt killed him. It only took 93 years.

11 years ago

If you quit eating you will have only one problem death. so quit trying to scare people

Glenn P
11 years ago

Another load of hooey. Eggs are bad/eggs are good Margarine is good/margarine is bad.
tuna is poison/tuna is ok
apples are poisoned w ALAR/oh sorry we were wrong
If you are a fat load lose the weight
If you don’t exercise, try starting

11 years ago

Bodies need adequate salt – when sick and in the hosp, what do the doctors give us? Saline – that is salt and water! So what gives?

Bob Devour
11 years ago

Unless you grow and raise your own food, you cannot get away from sodium salt. It’s in every processed food item you buy in the grocery store and when you dine out. You can shop carefully and read labels. Fresh beef, pork, turkey, chicken fish, fruits and raw vegetables are healthy, safe bets to avoid salt. Another thing to do is increase your daily intake of potassium and switch to “unrefined” salt ( Search the web. I found and saved this article- ) Unrefined salt is available in health food stores.
Ray Mason, you may be right, too. I read something long time ago that less than 5% of the population is salt-sensitive. That is, prone to hypertension and water retention. I don’t know if that statistic is still good today, but is something to think about.

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