Monday, February 22, 2010

Myth: My diet is heart healthy because its low-fat, so I don’t have to pay attention to sodium.

Answer: Busted!

Sodium affects our risk for heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends getting less than 2300 mg of sodium per day- only about 1 teaspoon of salt. Most Americans get about 3436 mg of sodium daily – about 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt.
High-sodium diets are linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. A recent study found that if Americans reduced their sodium intake by 1200 mg per day (about 1/2 a teaspoon) it could decrease the number of heart attacks by 54,000 to 99,000 per year!

Reducing sodium is more than just putting down the salt shaker. In fact, most of the sodium we eat is hidden in processed foods that are canned, frozen, or pre-packaged. Rely less on convenience foods and you can control how much sodium you eat. One can of soup can have more sodium than you need in an entire day. Make your own soup with low-sodium chicken broth and fresh vegetables. Freeze the leftovers in individual containers for later.

Other tips for reducing your sodium intake:
- Use herbs and spices to flavor your foods instead of salt
- Choose fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned
- Limit salty snacks such as pretzels and potato chips
- Buy low- or reduced-sodium versions of foods when possible
- Prepare foods from scratch: Try making your own salad dressing with vinegar and oil
- Read nutrition labels

For more information about lowering you sodium intake check out

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