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If You Do One Thing This Month...Shake On Less Salt

From your morning omelet to the soup
you had for dinner today, chances are you
took in close to two teaspoons of salt,
about 4,600 milligrams of sodium-twice
the recommended maximum of 2,300
milligrams. Over time, ingesting large
quantities of the mineral can harm your
health. "Sodium binds to water, so when
you consume too much of it, your blood
volume increases," explains Elisa Zied,
R.D., a spokesperson for the American
Dietetic Association. "That makes your
blood vessels and your heart work harder,
raising blood pressure-a risk factor for
heart disease and stroke." A high intake
may also cause tummy troubles: One new
study found that people who eat a high sodium
diet are 70 percent more likely to
suffer from heartburn-causing acid reflux.
To protect your heart and your stomach,
follow these salt-saving tips.

  • Use half the salt called for in a recipe
    and add it at the end of cooking. You'll get
    more flavor from it, because the longer
    something cooks, the more diluted the
    salt becomes.
    Savings: 1/4 teaspoon

  • Season with herbs, juices, and spices
    For delicious suggestions, see our Healthy
    Kitchen column.
    Savings: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Choose low-sodium versions of your
    favorite prepared foods, like soups, salad
    dressings, and deli meats. (They should
    have less than 140 milligrams per serving.)
    And rinse canned vegetables and
    beans to get rid of up to half the salt.

    Savings: 1/4 teaspoon or more

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