Lower Your Salt Intake

Learn how to spot high-sodium foods and make healthier choices.

Health risks of high-sodium diet

"Excess salt consumed throughout life causes blood pressure to rise with age," explains Professor Stephen Harrap, President of the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia.

Over time, higher-than-normal blood pressure may damage artery walls and make them vulnerable to atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arteries), thus increase your risk of having a heart attack, kidney disease or a stroke.

Recent studies have also unveiled more negative health effects of excessive salt intake: There is growing evidence that high-salt intake is bad news for other problems, such as aggravating asthma, gastric cancer, kidney stones and osteoporosis.

Tips on reducing salt intake

The bottom line: Some sodium is okay, but too much could wreak havoc on your overall health. So cut back now with these salt reduction tips:

Keep tabs on your salt intake. Take stock of the sources of salt in your diet -- from restaurant meals to convenience foods to salted snacks. Some of these are really loaded with salt.

Use tasty salt substitutes such as garlic, ginger, chili, a pinch of sugar to add flavor to your food without salt's negative health effects.

Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetavles which are rich in potassium to balance the high sodium content in your diet.

Read food labels when shopping and opt for low-sodium alternatives in crackers, canned vegetables and chips.

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