Although salt is a critical mineral for proper functioning of your physiology, it is not necessary to worry about getting enough of it. Most Americans consume far more salt than they need. The lowest level of salt you need for optimum health is 116 mg a day, however, the average American ingests more than 4,000 mg!
When we hear the word salt, we tend to think of table salt, but the fact is, salt comes in many other forms. Approximately seventy-five percent of the salt you take in does not come from a salt shaker but as a result of being added to processed food. Table salt is actually only forty percent salt.
High intake of salt is directly linked to elevated blood pressure in most people. Many studies have have come to the same conclusion. One of the most respected reviews of its kind was the InterSalt study, which studied salt ingestion in over 10,000 people in 52 study centers.
Sodium ingestion correlated with an elevation in blood pressure, and elevated blood pressure correlated with an increased rate of arterial aging. For years, doctors have been recommending low-salt diets to people whose blood pressure demonstrated salt sensitivity. The first relationship between sodium intake and high blood pressure was made public by Ambard and Beaujard in 1904.
As a result, low-salt diets were regularly recommended as a way to successfully drop blood pressure. The development of blood pressure medications allowed doctors to prescribe medications rather than give patients low-salt diet advice.
Newer study results indicate that all of us do indeed age faster when salt ingestion is excessive. The concept of salt sensitivity has problems. One of the main drawbacks of the salt-sensitivity theory is that it’s impossible to determine who is sale sensitive until high blood pressure actually develops, and by that time significant aging and physiological damage has begun.
A lot of people’s sensitivity to salt changes with age
The wise choice is to drop salt intake. Salt restriction, exercise, and weight control provide one of the best methods to reduce the chance of developing high blood pressure and subsequent arterial aging.
Although the average American ingests nearly 4,000 mg of salt per day, most medical organizations, including the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office, the National Institutes of Health, the National Academy of Science’s Research Council, and countless experts in the field, suggest that salt intake should actually not exceed 2,400 mg per day.
For the maximum age reduction benefit, it is recommended to keep salt ingestion less than 1,600 mg a day. A 55 year old man who has consistently ingested only 1,600 mg of salt a day is 2.8 years younger than his counterpart who has ignored salt intake.
What’s the best way to reduce salt intake?
The quickest way is to drop the amount of processed and prepackaged foods, excessive salt is used to preserve these products. In addition, fast foods are also very high in salt, another reason to leave fast-food establishments alone.
Also, fresh fruits, vegetables, fresh meats, and poultry contain much lower levels of salt. Using these foods to form the foundation of your diet will drastically drop your salt intake without really much extra effort. If you do buy prepackaged or processed foods, make sure to read the labels.
Foods that you would never think of as “salty” can contain an huge amount of salt. Cheese, preserved meats, many condiments’ and many shellfish are extremely high in salt, so buyer beware.
Often similar products have dramatically different salt levels; many companies offer “no-salt” and “low-salt” alternatives. Even though we should all cut back on table salt, it’s important to note that it is the hidden salts in processed foods that are responsible for almost all of our salt ingestion.
Salt deficiencies are very rare, strenuous exercise on a warm day can reduce salt levels in the body, a condition that can trigger other physiological issues that prematurely age the body. So the current wisdom is When exercising, drink a lot of water to keep yourself properly hydrated.
My list of HGH Recommendations.
Roizen, Michael F., RealAge: Are You As Young As You Can Be? 2003, pages167-169.