Is There Too Much Sodium In Your Diet?

Six Easy Ways to Reduce SodiumSour cream and onion potato chips, buffalo wings, double cheeseburgers, movie theater popcorn; these delicious, salty foods that many of us crave can ultimately cause problems for our cardiovascular system. The World Health Organization (WHO) is concerned, and they’re trying to get the word out.

Sodium Overload: Bad for Your Heart

This past September, the WHO shared new sodium reduction recommendations, in the hope that if people follow them, there will be a reduction of heart disease and stroke. Dr Oleg Chestnov, WHO Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health, puts it simply, “If the target to reduce salt by 30% globally by 2025 is achieved, millions of lives can be saved from heart disease, stroke and related conditions.”

In our country, up to 80% of salt intake comes from processed foods like the ones we mentioned at the outset, as well as bread, cheese, bottled sauces, cured meats, and prepared meals. Truly, sodium permeates the American diet. Is your diet saturated in salt? How can your bring your numbers down for a healthier tomorrow?

Both adults and children can benefit from the recommendations of the WHO with regard to sodium intake. So think about the following strategies both for yourself and for the young ones, if any, in your life.

How to Reduce Salt Intake – Six Strategies:

  • At the grocery store, read the food label. Check sodium levels. Government guidelines limit sodium to less than 2,300 mg per day. An example of this breakdown would be 600 mg for each of 3 meals, then a cap of 500 mg for daily snacks.
  • When purchasing meals that are prepared, ask the server if it can be prepared with less salt. Sometimes this will not be possible, but in many instances, it can help tremendously.
  • At the table, remove the sauces and salt shakers. Sometimes we reach for salt out of habit.
  • When cooking your own meals, limit the amount of salt you add to a maximum of 1/5 teaspoon over the day.
  • Use common sense and stay away from foods that you know are high in salt.
  • Help your children to develop a taste for lower salt foods with patience and practice.

What about Iodine?

It’s true that iodized salt is beneficial for proper brain development in children, so how is this affected by a reduced sodium diet? Happily, health experts assure us that each of us, whether young or old, can still get our recommended intake of iodine even if we cut back on salt.

So push back against the shaker, pass up those hot pretzels covered in granules of salt, and keep thinking about ways you can cut back when eating out. It may well mean a longer life for you and your loved ones.

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