Is lowering salt intake safe?

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1. Eating too little salt is not generally a concern for healthy people. If you are being treated for a chronic health problem, ask your doctor about whether it is safe for you to reduce your salt intake.

2. Some table salt is fortified with iodine. If you use table salt to meet your need for iodine, a small amount- about XA teaspoon of iodized salt-provides more than half the daily iodine allowance.

3. Your body can adjust to prevent too much sodium loss when you exercise heavily or when it is very hot. However, if you plan to reduce your salt intake and you exercise vigorously, it is sensible to decrease gradually the amount of salt you consume.

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Salt is found mainly in processed and prepared foods

Salt (sodium chloride) is the main source of sodium in foods (see INDEX 24). Only small amounts of salt occur naturally in foods. Most of the salt you eat comes from foods that have salt added during food processing or during preparation in a restaurant or at home. Some recipes include table salt or a salty broth or sauce, and some cooking styles call for adding a very salty seasoning such as sauce. Not all foods with added salt taste salty. Some people add salt or a salty seasoning to their food at the table. Your preference for salt may decrease if you gradually add smaller amounts of salt or salty seasonings to your food over a period of time.

Aim for a moderate sodium intake

Most people consume too much salt, so moderate your salt intake. Healthy children and adults need to consume only small amounts of salt to meet their sodium needs-less than teaspoon of salt daily. The Nutrition Facts Label lists a Daily Value of 2,400 mg of sodium per day. This is the amount of sodium in about 1 teaspoon of salt. See INDEX 25 for helpful hints on how to keep your sodium intake moderate.

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