Watch Your Salt

I’m not talking about watching Angelina Jolie’s movie.  I’m talking about sodium chloride.  The white stuff in the shaker, and in many of the processed food stuffs most people eat.  The sodium in salt helps carry nutrients into the cells of your body.  But you don’t need a lot.  And most Americans get too much — about 3,466 milligrams of sodium a day.  A full 9 out of 10 Americans eat too much salt, according to a government (CDC) survey, and most of them are getting more than double the recommended amount.  Processed foods and restaurant foods account for an estimated 77% of dietary sodium, according to the survey, and the prime culprit: grain-based foods.

According to the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, the recommended safe minimum daily amount is about 500 milligrams of sodium and the upper limit is 2,400 milligrams. However, the council has suggested that reducing daily sodium intake to 1,800 milligrams would probably be healthier. Proposed new government guidelines for 2010 would lower the recommended intake to 1,500 milligrams.

Taking in too much salt can raise your blood pressure.  That can be bad news for your kidneys and it can cause strokes, heart attacks and aneurysms.

A study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco used a computer simulation model to determine the impact that reducing salt intake could have on reducing heart disease.  The researchers found that removing only one gram (1,000 milligrams) of salt from the diet each day could result in 250,000 fewer new cases of heart disease and more than 200,000 fewer deaths over a decade.

My bottom line message: Eat a healthy and good-tasting diet like the Alpha Fuel Solution described in Alpha Male Challenge.  Following the Fuel Rules, you’ll get a lot less of the highly processed foods that are loaded with excess salt.  And keep the salt shaker in the cupboard, or get rid of it entirely!