Cut your salt, cut your health problems

It's time to stop saying "pass the salt."

Last month, the Institute of Medicine called on the FDA to set new lower salt levels for food.

Americans eat twice as much salt as they need - increasing their risk of high blood pressure - which can cause heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure.

A recent study by the New England Journal of Medicine estimates that up 150,000 lives could be saved if Americans would just cut out about a teaspoon a salt a day.

When you absorb salt, you also absorb extra water, and that has to go into the same circulation, so the pressure increases. That pressure can damage the brain, heart and kidneys.

And for women dealing with monthly hormonal issues, that salt can cause bloating and crankiness.

According to dietary guidelines, the maximum recommended level of sodium intake is 2300 mg per day.

Anne Rupert, a personal trainer at Advance Physical Fitness, said, "Eating less than that would be even better. There's nothing wrong with getting used to having that amt. 2300 mg or less now at an early time in your life, because you won't have to worry about it later. It's already become a lifestyle change. You just stay away from it now. If you make the adjustment now, you won't have to make it later. It just becomes a part of your lifestyle."

Cheryl Loatsch with Cheryl Loatsch Studio recommends the average individual, with no health issues such as high blood pressure, keep their sodium intake to 2000 milligrams a day.

And she says that's impossible to do if you eat processed food.

By the way, the FDA has not decided whether it will impose restrictions on sodium content. If it does, Americans will have 10 years to adjust their palates.

Have a question about getting healthier in the Tri-States? If so, let Rajah know what's on your mind by e-mailing her at