Misconception: “Extra Salt Isn’t Going to Kill Me”

“Extra Salt Isn’t Going to Kill Me.”  Actually, it will.  Salt (sodium) in excess leads to high blood pressure (known as the disease called, hypertension).  Hypertension is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke!  What are the top sodium offenders and how can you control your intake?  (It’s not so bad, read on 🙂 )

Top 10 Sodium Offenders

According to the CDC, most of our sodium intake comes from restaurant and grocery store foods.  The number one offender is: Bread and rolls.  The CDC states these ten foods as responsible for 44% of all the sodium we take in:

  1. Breads and rolls
  2. Luncheon meats such as deli ham and turkey
  3. Pizza
  4. Poultry
  5. Soups
  6. Cheeseburgers and other sandwiches
  7. Cheese
  8. Pasta dishes
  9. Meat dishes
  10. Snack foods including chips, pretzels, and popcorn

Why sodium in these foods – some look healthy

A high amount of sodium in foods is primarily due to the way we store fresh ingredients – sodium helps preserve foods for longer (sugar and trans-fat help to preserve shelf-life, too, making products even more unhealthy).  Foods prepared in packages and in restaurants (especially fast food, food courts, and cafeterias) are subject to this type of food processing and preserving methods.

What’s the guidelines for sodium?

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines state sodium intake at 2,300 mg or less per day.  For those with chronic disease and heart failure, this number drops down much lower.  The average person takes in close to 3,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium everyday (excluding table salt shaker usage).  Americans have been known to take in at least 5,000 mg of sodium per day.

How do I cut sodium with no effort?

Simply looking at a label is the first step – are you buying low sodium broths, soups, or adding salt to your meals?  Reduce eating all of these foods mentioned above by 25-50%.  Here’s how to do it:

Behavior How to Cut Down Result
Eat bread roll every night for dinner (1 roll: 146mg) Eat bread roll two nights per week for dinner Slashes 730mg per week
Eat deli meat every day for lunch (2 slices: 730mg) Buy low-sodium deli meat (2 slices: 210 mg) Slashes 3,640mg per week
Eat 1 slice pizza 3x per week (1 slice = 950mg. 3 slices = 2,850mg) Eat 1 slice pizza 1x per week (950 mg) Slashes 1,900mg per week
Eat 5oz grilled chicken for lunch at least 5x per week (5oz = 681mg) Substitute 2 whole eggs (1 egg =62mg) 2x per week. Slashes 1,114mg per week

 

 

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