Volume 14 Issue 80

Are you risking high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke by consuming unhealthy amounts of salt? Chances are, if you're like the vast majority of Americans, the answer is YES - and you probably don't even know you're doing it.

According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 9 out of 10 Americans consume way too much salt, and it's not coming from the salt shaker on the table. Most of the salt in our diets is already in the prepared foods so many of us just heat, serve and swallow - all without even a glance at the ingredients on the label.

The report, "Sodium Intake in Adults - United States, 2005-2006," was published in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. With words like "Morbidity" and "Mortality" in the title, we clearly see how serious excess salt is in our diet.

The report goes on to say that less than 10 percent of U.S. adults limit their daily intake to the recommended level of 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day - about 1 teaspoon of salt. Specific groups, including people with high blood pressure, middle-aged and older adults, and all African Americans, should limit their intake to only 1500 mg per day - less than ½ a teaspoon. Yet American adults average nearly 3,500 mg a day, and many consume a lot more than that.

The CDC found that an estimated 77 percent of the sodium in our diet comes from processed and restaurant foods. Two-thirds of the salt we eat is in processed grains like pizza crust and cookies, and in meat, poultry and fish products. And many of these foods, says the CDC, don't even taste salty.

No wonder one in three Americans has high blood pressure, and 90 percent will develop it some time in their lives. And no wonder, too, that heart disease and stroke are the #1 and #3 killers of all Americans.

The idea, then, is to pay better attention to labels that show sodium content and keep track of our daily intake. And even more important, cut way back, or even eliminate, the sodium-loaded packaged and fast foods that are sending so many Americans to early graves.

Another good idea: Your local chiropractor or acupuncturist may offer dietary and nutritional advice that, along with regular adjustments or treatments, will go a long way towards preventing high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

SOURCE: CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report,

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