Most Americans are eating too much sodium. Limiting your salt intake to the daily recommended amount is part of eating a well-balanced diet. The American Heart Association (AMA) suggests that sodium should be limited to 1,500 milligrams per day. Their stats show that people are consuming and average of twice that much, 3,400 milligrams.
The majority of processed foods contain way too much salt, which can be dangerous. Consuming excess amounts of sodium can lead to a number of health complications including increased risk for stroke, heart failure, cancer and kidney disease. You don’t have to look hard to find foods high in salt. From meals at restaurants to frozen foods, salt is everywhere. Some of the most notable foods high in sodium are cured meats, poultry, soups, sandwiches and pizza. There are many other foods you may not realize have high amounts of sodium including:
· Canned beans
· Canned tomatoes
· Processed cheese
· Condiments like ketchup and soy sauce
· Meat that has been enhanced with marinade or MSG
· Prepackaged salad dressing
· Pickled foods
· Prepackaged spice mixes
· Smoked foods
It’s evident that you have to be careful when choosing foods to avoid eating too much sodium. Below are some simple tips to help you make smart choices.
Keep it fresh – Use fresh meats instead of packages meats. Fresh cuts of meat will still have sodium in them, but not nearly as much as processed or cured meats. Foods like bacon or ham, which have a long shelf time in your fridge are extremely high in sodium.
Eat fresh vegetables – Vegetables, frozen fruits and canned fruits with little or no additives are low in sodium. When you buy frozen vegetables, look for the words “fresh frozen” on the label.
Read the labels – You will find a treasure trove of useful nutritional information and ingredients on food labels. The amount of sodium will be listed on the label. You may be surprised to realize foods that are also high in processed sugar can have high sodium content.
Compare different brands of the same food to see which one has lower sodium – This will vary depending on the brand.
Use spices or seasonings without added sodium – For example try using onion powder instead of onion salt.
Do some research online before you go out to eat, to find out the sodium content of a restaurant’s dishes?
Be on the lookout for foods that aren’t very salty but are high in sodium, such as cottage cheese.
Lowering your salt intake can help to improve your numbers as well as respond better to treatment if you have high blood pressure.
Be patient – At first you may feel that foods low in salt are too bland. Our tastes for everything, including salt are acquired and you can reverse this process. It takes around 8 weeks to get used to eating foods lower in salt, but once you have adjusted you may notice that foods you used to eat taste too salty.
There are also healthy alternatives to salt. Some of them replace sodium with potassium. Most of the time it is safe to use a salt substitute as long as you don’t have any health conditions permitting otherwise. Certain medications for things like kidney disease may interact badly with potassium.
The American Heart Association’s Recommendations
Progress takes work. Success will depend on a number of different people – individuals, healthcare professionals, public health agencies, governments and businesses will all need to work to do their part. The AMA has been campaigning for Americans to reduce their sodium intake for decades. Many manufacturers and food establishments have followed AMA guidelines and taken action to reduce the salt content in their food. Here are some things the AMA is doing to help:
· Advocating people to eat healthy, fresh foods.
· Advocating the agriculture and food industry to make healthy choices more accessible.
· Educating the public on how to make healthy choices.
Always speak with your healthcare provider when considering a dietary change. If you want to learn more, contact Total Home Health Inc. today. We have an extensive set of resources to help you answer your questions. Get started today and start planning a longer healthier life.