Click here to read the full article in The Gaston Gazette: Sodium, diet, exercise play important roles in the health of this vital organ
The average American eats about 3400mg of sodium, well above the 2300mg recommended amount. If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, are African American, or are over age 50, you should only intake 1500mg. Too much sodium in your diet can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, and cardiovascular diseases, like heart attacks.
Most sodium we eat (>75%) comes from processed foods purchased from the grocery store and restaurants, not from cooking (5%) or salt added to food (6%). Sodium levels in food at popular chain restaurants in the U.S. can have 2-3 times the sodium compared to other countries.
Here are some tips to help you make the right choices when eating out:
- Ask for low sodium alternatives or “no salt” dishes when eating out. Many restaurants can provide alternatives.
- Familiarize yourself with high sodium offenders such as, fried foods, most soups and salad dressings and processed meats (ham, sausage, hot dogs, and bacon). Avoid sauces and marinades and condiments like ketchup, barbecue sauce and relish.
- Ask your server for sodium content in menu items. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 requires restaurants with 20 or more locations to provide calorie labeling on menus and additional nutrition information, including sodium content upon request.
- If a food contains over 10 percent of your daily allowance of sodium, you may be eating a “higher sodium” food.
- Read labels on your foods. Sodium can creep into foods that you don’t typically think of. A slice of white bread typically has more than 200mg of sodium (nearly 500mg for two slices). Many flavored waters contain sodium. A cup of ready-made cereal can have 250mg of sodium or more.