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Salt Substitutes: Healthier Than Salt?

Limiting sodium is one way to eat healthier, especially if you're concerned with preventing high-blood pressure. It is a small comfort that some sodium is actually necessary for our bodies to function normally. It helps maintain the right balance of fluids in our bodies, helps transmits nerve impulses, and influences the contraction and relaxation of muscles. All this being said, the daily recommended intake of sodium is equal to about one teaspoon, 2,300 mg. I'm not talking about added salt; I'm talking about total salt intake. That isn't very much, considering that 75 percent of the salt you eat comes from processed foods and meat.

Some people turn to salt substitutes such as No Salt or Also Salt. Regular salt is Sodium Chloride and these salt substitutes are Potassium Chloride. According to the Mayo Clinic, using these in moderation is fine, but getting too much added potassium can be harmful if you have kidney problems, or if you're taking certain medications for congestive heart failure or high-blood pressure that cause potassium retention.

Also, you've got to read labels on these salt substitutes carefully, since some of them still contain sodium chloride (salt), but in smaller amounts. You may end up using more of the salt substitute to achieve the salty taste you crave, so in the end, you'll be consuming just as much sodium.

Fit's Tips: Truthfully, I think salt substitutes taste like bitter chemicals, and they have a very weak salty taste. So when I crave salt I use the real deal, but I try to add as little as possible. I also season my food with herbs and spices to give it more flavor so I'm less likely to need added salt.

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