New dietary guidelines highlight use of herbs and spices to reduce sodium intake and describe usefulness of dietary supplements

AHPA Updates

New dietary guidelines highlight use of herbs and spices to reduce sodium intake and describe usefulness of dietary supplements

AHPA Update

Published: Monday, January 11, 2016

Strategies for lowering sodium consumption include using herbs and spices

Dietary supplements can help to fill nutritional gaps and using herbs and spices can help lower sodium consumption, according to the new 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) released last week. The guidelines are published jointly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) every five years and serve as the foundation for federal nutrition policy and programs, as well as health professional advice. The DGA is based on the latest body of nutrition research, and informs Americans on healthy lifestyle choices.

The report notes that despite the majority of the U.S. population consuming three meals a day plus more than one snack, many still don't consume a sufficient amount of crucial nutrients like potassium, dietary fiber, choline, magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A, D, E, and C. This is a public health concern because low nutrient intakes are associated with health risks, according to the DGA. The guidelines state that in some cases, "...dietary supplements may be useful in providing one or more nutrients that otherwise may be consumed in less than recommended amounts."

The report also encourages the use of herbs to reduce sodium intake. According to the DGA, average intakes of sodium are high across among the U.S. population with some consuming as much as 3,440 mg per day. The DGA recommends several strategies to reduce sodium consumption, including "flavoring foods with herbs and spices instead of salt."

Recent university research revealed that when adults flavor their food with spices and herbs instead of salt, they reduce sodium intake by almost 1,000 mg per day.

"The herbal product and supplement industries appreciate that the latest dietary guidelines highlight the use of dietary supplements and herbs and spices to promote and maintain Americans' health," said American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) President Michael McGuffin. "AHPA promotes the responsible commerce of herbal products and dietary supplements to ensure Americans continue to enjoy informed access to these beneficial products."

AHPA provides numerous resources for consumers who want to make informed decisions concerning the use of herbal products at www.ahpa.org.

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