Sodium intake adds up fast

Cutting back on sodium can significantly improve blood pressure and heart health. Sodium is an essential nutrient, but you don’t need much in your diet and it adds up fast.

The American diet, at really no surprise, is full of sodium, as more than 70 percent of the sodium Americans eat comes from packaged, prepared and restaurant foods — that’s not even touching the saltshaker.

Salt Danger

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams a day and moving toward an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults. Cutting back on sodium can significantly improve blood pressure and heart health. Sodium is an essential nutrient, but you don’t need much in your diet and it adds up fast.

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams a day and moving toward an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults. Cutting back on sodium can significantly improve blood pressure and heart health. Sodium is an essential nutrient, but you don’t need much in your diet and it adds up fast.

Melinda Boyd, EAFB Health Promotion Dietitian, says, “Here’s an easy way to think about it – 1 teaspoon of salt just one teaspoon, that’s 2,300 mg. So you can imagine when it’s added to your food and you’re looking at it, it doesn’t take much to add up really quickly and that’s why most of us are getting more than that 2,300 mg.”

It’s easy to understand why. Sodium can be sneaky. A 3-ounce serving of roasted ham averages around 1100 milligrams of sodium (that’s about half of the recommended intake for your day).

Boyd says that’s why it’s important to taste your food before adding salt to it. Certain foods like bread, soups and cheese already have higher amounts of sodium in them.

Check the food labels if you’re buying canned or prepackaged food because there are differences and some products will be lower than others.

Boyd says, “If you’re looking at the food label, the first thing to check for is to see the serving size for the food and the information listed there, just for that portion or that serving … adding in your head being mindful and aware of it.”

 

High Sodium

About one in three Americans has high blood pressure and a high-sodium diet could be a contributor.

“So the reason why we want to watch your sodium intake is because it can increase blood pressure and that impacts risk for stroke and heart disease,” notes Boyd.

Watching sodium intake is just one component to a heart health, many factors come into play with lifestyle modifications – the hardest part may be changing your behavior patterns.

Geri Seal, EAFB Health Promotions Coordinator, says, “It’s choices – a lot of the things I do is about choices, so I try to help members try to make some smart goals on changing some of their behavior patterns.”

Seal says it’s not about being perfect, it’s about enjoying life in moderation.

Sometimes a small adjustment can bring big results when it comes to your health. The American Heart Association has lots of resources to help you stay on track.

Categories: Local News, Wellness Wednesdays

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