Curbing salt intake could add years to your life

Fast food is convenient, but it can be salty. Americans eat about 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day, more than the suggested 2,300 milligrams and double the 1,500 milligrams for people who are over 50, African-American or who have hypertension, diabetes or kidney disease. <br /><br />While "fast food isn't going to wreck anyone's diet if consumed on occasion," you should limit sodium, says Rima Kleiner, a Virginia-based nutritionist. <br /><br /><br />Here are some of the worst fast-food meals for sodium, and better options. (via <a href="http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20620588,00.html" target="_blank">Health.com</a>)

By Lisa Drayer, CNN

This is part one of a two-part feature. Part 2: How to detox from a sodium habit you may not know you have

(CNN)Potato chips. Pretzels. Pizza. French fries.

Thoughts of these foods can make our tongues dance as we anticipate satisfying our salty cravings.

There’s just one problem: The amount of sodium we consume from these and other processed foods is more than what is considered healthy. What’s more, cutting back on salt in the processed foods we eat could help us live for many more years — even if we are healthy.

“The Western diet is way too high in sodium. … People eat way too much, and it increases your risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke and stomach cancer,” said Sonya Angelone, a registered dietitian who specializes in cardiovascular nutrition and is the media spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Research also suggests that too much salt can negatively affect bone health in young girls and postmenopausal women.

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