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The arrival of gourmet sea salts on store shelves has many people wondering about how it compares to table salt, and whether it is healthier and worth paying the extra money.
Healthfulness can be evaluated based on its sodium content and mineral composition. So, in comparison, sea salt does contain minerals and its’ texture, taste and the way it is processed varies from table salt. However, both sea salt and table salt have the exact chemical make-up. They both contain sodium chloride and research indicates that it’s around the same amount.
Recently publicized on CBC News was the amount of salt in fast foods in Canada. If you read “Shake Your Salt Habit and Boost Your Potassium ” you know that too much salt is a contributing factor to elevated blood pressure and increases your risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). With a high sodium intake, the body retains more water, which increases the blood volume and in turn, drives up the pressure. High intake of potassium seems to regulate water retention and lower the pressure.
Canadian Sodium Levels Amongst the Highest
A report, released by World Action on Salt, found that sodium levels in a selection of processed and fast food was higher in Canada compared to other countries. For example, the report found that for every 100 g of Kellogg’s All Bran sold in Canada, there was 861 mg of sodium. Compared to the U.S., 100 g of that same cereal contained 258 mg of sodium.
Recommended Adequate Sodium Intake
Consuming more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day increases your risk of health problems. Canadians consume about 3,400 mg of sodium every day, mostly through processed foods.
Here are the daily recommended intakes for Canadians:
• 1,000 mg for children age one to three.
• 1,200 mg for children age four to eight.
• 1,500 mg for people age nine to 50.
• 1,300 mg for adults age 51 to 70.
• 1,200 mg for seniors over 70.
Sodium and You
If you don’t add sodium to your foods, you shouldn’t be too concerned, unless you have a liking for foods like pizza, sandwiches, potato chips or pretzels or if you eat soup, pasta, cheese, sausage, poultry or beef. Hmm…maybe we should be concerned with our sodium intake? These foods all contain varying levels of sodium and account for more than half of the sodium Canadians consume according to Stats Canada.
How to Limit your Salt Intake?
Start by reading the label on food products. The ingredient list will tell you how much sodium is in a serving.
Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.
Choose fresh, frozen or canned without added salts.
Season your foods with herbs and spices (it tastes a lot better).
CBC News (2011) Salt levels in fast foods higher in Canada http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/04/16/salt-fast-food.html