Most Americans eat more sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet. The steady increase can be attributed to people’s busy schedules resulting in eating more convenience and processed foods and an acquired taste for salt.
“The dietary guidelines recommend that people consume no more than 2300 milligrams (mg) per day of sodium,” says McFarland Clinic Dietitian Nancy Schive. “Estimates state that Americans are consuming 3500-4500 mg/day of salt.”
Consuming too much salt can contribute to the development of high blood pressure which becomes a risk factor for the development of other health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and kidney disease.
“Per the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, for those adults age 51 and older, African-Americans of any age, and individuals with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease, sodium intake is recommended at no more than 1500 mg/day,” says Schive.
Reducing the amount of salt you eat is possible. Check the labels of food for sodium content.
“Include more fresh or frozen vegetables. Take the time to prepare more meals from scratch,” says Schive. “Cut back on salt little by little. Experiment with other herbs, spices and lemon juice rather than adding salt when cooking.”
"Patients with high blood pressure are often recommended to try the DASH eating plan,” says Schive. “The DASH eating plan focuses on increasing intake of foods rich in nutrients that are expected to lower blood pressure, mainly minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium, protein and fiber.”
Follow these 10 tips to help you cut back:
- Think fresh
- Enjoy home-prepared foods
- Fill up on veggies and fruits
- Choose dairy and protein foods that are lower in sodium
- Adjust your taste buds
- Skip the salt
- Read the label
- Ask for low-sodium foods when you eat out
- Pay attention to condiments
- Boost your potassium intake
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