Cut the Salt to Help Your Heart
Author: Shannon Miller
Reducing your sodium intake.
Most people know that exercising and eating a low-fat diet can lower the risk for heart disease. But many don’t realize that reducing their sodium (salt) intake may be just as important. In fact, a new study published in the British Medical Journal reports that people with slightly elevated blood pressure who reduced their daily intake of sodium by just 25-35 percent significantly cut their risk for this deadly disease.
Experts recommend most Americans eat less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium each day (the equivalent of about 1 teaspoon of table salt). But the average person eats twice that amount. Why? The American diet is high in processed and restaurant foods-both of which are notorious for elevated sodium levels.
The good news is you can reduce your sodium intake-and boost your heart health-with a few simple steps:
- Choose fresh vegetables and foods that are fresh whenever possible.
- Look for canned or frozen foods without added sauces or salt.
- Cut back on convenience foods that are typically high in sodium, such as frozen pizza, TV dinners, instant rice mixes, and canned soups.
- If you must buy packaged or processed foods, check the label first. Whenever possible, choose foods that have less than 100 mg of sodium per 100 grams.
- Try not to use salt in cooking water and remove the salt shaker from the table.
- Limit salty snacks such as chips, pretzels, and salted nuts.
- Eat at home more often to better control your intake of sodium.
- When dining out, request that your meal be prepared with little salt.
Courtesy of Baptist Health – Jacksonville, Florida
If you found this article helpful, you might also want to read this related Shannon Miller Lifestyle article: Exercise More to Boost Heart Health