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What is the daily recommended allowance of cholesterol and salt in the diet?

Learn what the daily recommended allowance of cholesterol and salt is.

Too much salt and cholesterol from fatty foods like this can be devastating to one's health. [©Shutterstock, 2010]
©Shutterstock, 2010
Too much salt and cholesterol from fatty foods like this can be devastating to one's health.

The daily recommended allowance of cholesterol and salt (recommended by the American Heart Association) is 300 milligrams per day of cholesterol and up to three grams per day of sodium.

Too much salt (in particular the sodium content of salt) in one's diet causes extra water to be drawn into the blood vessels, increasing the pressure on the artery walls and causing high blood pressure.

Generally 1.5 teaspoons of sodium a day is sufficient to get the three grams or 3,000 milligrams needed. However, the average American ingests two to four times that much.

Cholesterol, an essential element for bodily functions, can be supplied by eating high dietary cholesterol foods of animal origin (egg yolks, meat, poultry, fish and milk and milk products) or foods having high saturated fat content (butter, cheese, whole milk, ice cream, cream, meat, poultry and shellfish (in particular fatty meats) and a few vegetable fats (coconut oil, cocoa butter (found in chocolate), palm and palm kernel oil).

Of all the things in one's diet, saturated fats seem to raise blood cholesterol levels the most. Too high of a blood cholesterol could lead to coronary heart diseases and atherosclerosis, so researchers stress avoiding or limiting foods that contain high dietary cholesterol (organ meats, egg yolks, fat portions of meat, milk products), high saturated fats (butter, ice cream, cream portions of milk products, fatty meats) and baked or fried products and snack foods containing coconut, palm or palm kernel oil.

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