Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 8.56.12 AMWhile overindulgence during the holidays may fuel resolutions in the new year, many of us overlook one that lingers year round – and with severe health consequences.

Salt, also known as sodium chloride, is overabundant in the American diet and a deterrent to achieving optimal health.

Excess salt can contribute to elevated blood pressure.  High blood pressure, or hypertension, can lead to coronary heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure and kidney disease.

Dietary choices are not only critical for weight management but also heart health and key bodily functions.  All nutritional components and a healthy balance must be considered in cultivating a healthy diet…and lifestyle,” said the Nutritionist team at Eatfitters.

Where Excess Salt is Found

A high amount of salt can be found in processed and packaged foods as well as “fast foods.”  While some restaurants  will feature “low sodium” meals on the menu, most restaurant meals are higher in salt than the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) recommends for an individual in its Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

In the Research on the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), clinical trials were conducted to monitor the health impact of specific foods – emphasizing potassium-rich vegetables and fruits, low-fat milk and milk products, whole grains, poultry, seafood and nuts, while decreasing sodium, red and processed meats, sweets and sugar-containing beverages.

DASH-style eating patterns have resulted in lower blood pressure, improved blood lipids and reduced cardiovascular disease compared to those resembling a typical American diet (1). These findings have contributed to the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as well as the 2015 guidelines to be published soon.

So, when considering your healthy resolutions for the new year, consider a reduction in salt intake and a proactive effort in understanding what is in the foods you choose and how they impact overall health and well being.

Key Recommendations on Salt Intake

  • Consume less than 2,300 mg (approximately 1 tsp) of sodium per day.
  • Choose and prepare foods with little salt, while consuming potassium-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables.

Individuals with hypertension, African Americans and middle-aged and older adults are encouraged to consume no more that 1500 mg of sodium per day, while consuming 4,700 mg of potassium-rich foods.

To learn more about healthier eating in the new year, go to www.eatfitters.com

Making healthy eating his personal mission, Sam Jaoude opened Eatfitters in Houston in 2010 and today has five locations throughout the city.  Featured on Great Day Houston and in local media, he has assembled a team of nutritionists and healthy eating coaches to help Houstonians achieve optimal health.