A Salty Tweet from Sanjay Gupta, MD
By Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA
Here’s a good quick health tip I came across today from Sanjay Gupta, MD, CNN’s Chief-Medical Correspondent. It appeared on his Twitter feed:
quick health tip: read labels: not just calories, but sodium. cut to less than 2 grams/day and you will have less swelling of face and legs. about 12 hours ago from web (about 8:30 am) – via Twitter @Sanjayguptacnn
Since twitter messages have to be 140 characters or fewer, they don’t provide much detail. So I thought I’d add a bit more info.
According the American Heart Association, one teaspoon of salt has 2,300 mg of sodium. [That’s 2.3 grams, to put it in terms of Dr. Gupta’s Tweet.]
Dr. Gupta’s advice to keep your daily sodium intake to less than 2 grams [i.e., 2,000 mg] means you need to take in less than a teaspoon of salt per day.
If you have high blood pressure, are 40 years or older or are African American, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends keeping your daily salt intake to no more than 1,500 mg.
The agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report states that 69.2 percent of U.S. adults are at high risk for health problems and should keep their sodium intake under 1,500 mg per day.
Since high salt diets are linked to high blood pressure and increased risks of heart disease and stroke, lowering your consumption of salt is a great step towards better health.
Quick tips for cutting out salt:
- Avoid processed foods such as hot dogs, packaged lunch meats & fast foods since they are very high in sodium.
- Go light with the salt shaker.
- Learn what your personal sodium recommendation is.
- Read ingredients on food labels and keep in mind your personal target.
- Restaurant foods tend to be very high in sodium, so ask for no-salt or low-salt preparations.
- Eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Simple steps like these can help you keep your health foundation strong.