If in the average american diet soduim was reduced by 1,200 mg per day 68,000 lives would be saved each year. A recommendation to Congress, by The Institute of Medicine, would require the FDA to enact regulations to reduce added-sodium in prepared foods. We need to police ourselves and limit processed foods from our diet.
Americans consume nearly 3,600 mg of sodium each day. This is nearly twice the recommended amount. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends being an avid label reader. All nutritional facts are now required to be on all packaging to help us make healthier choices. Sodium will be listed on the nutritional label as milligrams (mg) with the Daily Value per serving. Other ingredients that have a sodium compound and should be considered are:
- “baking soda”
- “baking powder”
- “disodium phosphate”
- “sodium alginate”
- “sodium nitrate”
- “sodium monosodium glutamate”
If the nutritional label states there is more then 200 mg per serving it’s best to avoid the product. Label’s don’t always mean what you think. Be conscience of the language on the label.
- “Reduced Sodium” is a 25% reduction in the food
- “Sodium free” is less than 5mg of sodium per serving
- “Very low sodium” is 35 mg of sodium or less per serving
- “Low sodium” is 140 mg of sodium or less per serving
- “unsalted” or “no salt added” or “without added salt” contain only natural sodium
There are three ways sodium finds its way into your diet, says MayoClinic.Com. There is natural sodium in such foods as milk, celery and other vegetables. Then there’s table salt that we add as seasoning while cooking. Finally, there’s the sodium added to processed and prepared foods for flavor and preservation.
According to the National Institutes of Health, healthy adults shouldn’t consume more than 2,300 mg of sodium each day–equivalent to the sodium in 1 tsp of salt. Although if you have hypertension, sodium consumption should be limited to 1,500 mg daily.
Make changes by choosing more fruits and vegetables over high sodium foods such as hot dogs, processed lunch meats, bacon and ham. Certain condiments such as salad dressing, mustard and soy sauce can be high in sodium and should be used sparingly. Read the label of fresh and frozen meat and poultry, which can be injected with sodium.
The challenge to lowering you sodium intake will be putting away the salt shaker. Helping will be eating real food and minimally processed foods. A combination of real food and decreasing your sodium intake will help in lowering blood pressure.