Metabolic Syndrome: Managing Salt
A key way to reduce the effects of metabolic syndrome is to lower high blood pressure. Reducing the amount of sodium and salt in your diet is a great start.
If you are like most Americans, you consume more salt than your body needs. The current daily recommendation from the American Heart Association is to have less than 2,400 mg, ideally less than 1,500 mg, of sodium per day. Sodium chloride or table salt is about 40% sodium. So, two-thirds teaspoon of salt equals about 1,500 mg of sodium. The USDA is slightly looser in its recommendations, allowing up to 2,300 mg for healthy people age 50 or younger, and 1,500 mg for African-Americans, those older than 50, and those who have diabetes, high blood pressure, or chronic kidney disease.
Here are some tips to help reduce your salt intake:
Buy fresh vegetables. If you buy frozen or canned, look for a no-salt-added label.
Avoid processed and packaged meats.
Cut back on canned, packaged, processed, and frozen foods in general. These tend to have a lot of sodium.
When buying ready-to-eat foods, look for the low-sodium variety.
Instead of flavoring your meals with salt, use fresh herbs and spices, such as pepper, garlic, and oregano.
Take the salt off the table so that you won't be tempted to shake it on your meal. With these fresh food and tasty flavor alternatives, you can spice up your diet in a healthy way.
- Freeborn, Donna, PhD, CNM, FNP
- MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician