This is a week to go real slow on the margaritas

This is World Salt Awareness Week, and health officials say that billions could be saved if individuals would cut their intake of sodium.

About 40 percent of table salt is sodium, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said that much of the salt that is consumed already is in the food products when they are purchased.

In Costa Rica, the Programa para la Reducción del Consumo de Sal plans a Webinar today at 10 a.m. in conjunction with the Panamerican Health Organization. Signups can be made HERE!

Sodium is being blamed for high blood pressure and other ills, although salt is necessary for life. Discussions about limiting the use of salt are being carried on in the public schools. The Instituto Costarricense de Investigación y Enseñanza en Nutrición y Salud recommends limiting sodium to 150 to 500 milligrams a day.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that the average American consumes 3,400 milligrams of sodium each day, and said that persons 51 years and older should try to consume 1,500 milligrams or less of sodium each day.

Those with high blood pressure, kidney disease or diabetes should consume even less.

“Many people are surprised to learn that foods that seem healthy, such as low-fat deli turkey or light salad dressings, can be high in sodium,” the Centers said in a summary of sodium intake. “In fact, the top sources of sodium in the American diet are bread and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, and pizza.”

The Centers estimated that high blood pressure in the United States would be reduced by 11 million cases and health care costs by $18 billion. The principal protection is reading food labels, the Centers said.

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