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Are You Getting Too Much Salt

Salt (sodium chloride) is an important part of our diet. The body uses sodium to maintain the balance of fluids and send nerve impulses. The contraction and relaxation of our muscles is also influenced by sodium.While the body needs sodium, too much of it increases the chance of developing high blood pressure (hypertension), coronary heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure and kidney disease.

The American Heart Association and other health organizations recommend consuming less than 2,300 mg of sodium (about 1 teaspoon of salt) per day. People with hypertension, African-Americans and middle-aged and older adults should aim to consume nomore than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. "Most Americans are consuming more than 10,000 mg of sodium per day," Brand said. "Decreasing your sodium intake can reduce the risk for serious health problems. Check with your doctor to determine the amount of sodium you should be consuming." Source of Sodium
  • With the exception of fresh fruits and vegetables, sodium is found in most of the foods we eat. Some sodium levels of are low, while others are very high. Food doesn't have to taste salty to contain sodium; foods such as bread, processed cheese, cereal andpeanut butter -not considered salty foods -contain higher levels of sodium. Tips to Reduce Sodium in Your Diet
  • Be aware of how much sodium is in the foods you eat. Read food labels to determine the amount of sodium in foods you buy
  • Choose low-or reduced-sodium cereals, soups, crackers, pasta sauces, canned vegetables and other low-salt foods
  • Cook from scratch when possible, and use garlic and herbs or salt-free seasoningsin place of salt to spice up your dishes
  • Limit convenience foods. Many frozen dinners and pizzas, packaged mixes, canned soups, salad dressings and other processed foods contain higher levels of sodium
  • Condiments such as soy and other sauces, pickles and olives are high in sodium
  • Eat more fresh fruits and fresh or frozen vegetables (without sauces)
  • Limit eating of smoked or salt-cured meats (hot dogs, ham, bacon and lunch meats)
  • Avoid adding salt to foods at the table or use small amounts

NLBC Health and Wellness Ministry

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