Simple Strategies Can Skimp On Sodium

(WIBW) - It's food for thought - an estimated 99 percent of middle age adults will develop high blood pressure in their lifetime.

Its just one reason the Institute of Medicine wants the government to order food makers to lower sodium.

Christine Curtis, ARNP, with Topeka's Cotton-O'Neil Heart Center, says the average American gets 9,000 to 12,000 milligrams of sodium a day. The American Heart Association's latest recommendation is that people get no more than 1500 milligrams a day. Plus, Curtis says the body really only needs 500 milligrams a day for good balance.

Step one in cutting back is becoming aware. Curtis says people need to read labels and take note of the sodium amount and the serving size so they can make informed decisions.

Curtis says restaurant food and processed foods are the biggest culprits. She says fast food value meals can give you well over a day's worth of sodium. Some frozen dinners also contain high amounts of sodium.

A better options, she says, is to use fresh vegetables and low-sodium ingredients to make homemade meals and not use herbs and spices, rather than salt, to add flavor.

Controlling what's in the food is especially important for soups. Many canned soups are loaded with salt.

Curtis also says to beware of hidden sodium in foods that might seem healthy. Canned vegetables, for example, can have added salt. Also, some fresh chicken breast and turkey is injected with salt water to add flavor and act as a preservative.

Curtis suggests going for the low-sodium label whenever it's offered. She says regulations state that food carrying that label has to be 140 milligrams or less in a serving size.

The American Medical Association says that if salt in processed and restaurant food were cut in half over ten years, more than 150,000 lives a year could be saved.

Too much sodium can cause high blood pressure, leading to heart disease and stroke. It can also impact the kidneys and brain.


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