By now we’ve all been warned about the dangers of salt. Not only does it lead to high blood pressure which is a major cause of heart disease and stroke, but it can be found in an over abundance in almost all processed foods.

While I agree that there is a problem with the amount of salt in our food, I would argue that the real problem is not the amount of salt in packaged food, but the amount of packaged food in our diets.

According to a report by the Champlain Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Network (CCDP) more than half of those surveyed cannot identify high-sodium foods such as pre-made spaghetti sauce, frozen entrees and canned soups. Would this be as big a problem if people’s diets weren’t full of this convenience food? If people were actually cooking their meals from scratch and knew the ingredients they were adding, would they know how much salt was in that sauce? I should say so.  But as it stands the term ‘homemade’ has started to lose its meaning when people consider sautéing some veg, browning some hamburger then dumping in a jar of pre-made spaghetti sauce to be cooking a homemade sauce.

So despite what the advertisements say about having a salad instead of soup with your meal, or buying low sodium versions of your favorite salad dressing – try making your own.

And for the record having some salt in your diet is not bad for you, not that it would really be easy to have a salt free diet in the first place. In fact, research suggests that adding a little salt to water before boiling vegetables helps them to retain their nutrients.

The message here is look beyond the advertising, past the fear and the negative press sodium is getting these days (taking up the reigns from fat, sugar, carbs and various others in the past) and recognize that too much of anything isn’t good for you. Moderation is the key to good health, and the key to moderation is knowing what you are eating.