Shaking the salt habit: Scaling back on sodium can stave off disease | by Howard Rothman


Posted on Fri, Jan 17, 2014

Salt has been used to preserve food and enhance taste for centuries. It’s also essential for balancing bodily fluids. But too much can lead to serious health conditions, like heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.

Such consequences, according to Bethany Braunstein, a registered dietitian at Denver’s Weigh to Wellness, can be even greater for baby boomers. “As we age, we already face a greater risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease,” she says.

U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend less than 1,500 milligrams a day for those 51 and older, and Braunstein says this can be achieved by planning ahead and making incremental changes such as these:

  • Choose fresh or frozen foods over canned, and low-sodium or sodium-free selections when buying processed foods.
  • Substitute herbs, spices or flavored vinegars for salt, pureed fruit or vegetables for sauce or gravy, and avocado or olive oil for spreads.
  • Patronize restaurants offering meals with 500 milligrams of sodium or less; find them at and other sites.
  • Take time to experiment and get more information from a professional or credible online source.

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