Sodium Heart Health

When you talk about the characteristics of having a healthly heart, watching your sodium, or salt, intake plays a vital role. According to the CDC, too much sodium increases a person’s risk for high blood pressure. High blood pressure often leads to heart disease, stroke, and other vascular diseases.

Before I became sincerely conscience about eating healthy, checking labels was for lames and over-conscience people that cared too much about food rather than enjoying it. When I grew up, I realized I was the lame one for not being more vigilant about my health, I started to notice that a lot of the food we consume is FILLED with salts and things to preserve it, making it the epitome of unhealthy. To bring it in perspective, the CDC also reports on the statistics of how sodium plays a role in the American diet and the findings may surprise you.

Highlights from the Report:

About 90% of Americans eat more sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet.
Reducing the sodium Americans eat by 1,200 mg per day on average could save up to $20 billion a year in medical costs.

Types of foods matter—More than 40% of sodium comes from the following 10 types of foods: breads and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats such as deli or packaged ham or turkey, pizza, fresh and processed poultry, soups, sandwiches such as cheeseburgers, cheese, pasta dishes*, meat mixed dishes such as meat loaf with tomato sauce, and snacks such as chips, pretzels, and popcorn.

Brands of foods matter too. Different brands of the same foods may have different sodium levels.For example, sodium in chicken noodle soup can vary by as much as 840 milligrams (mg) per serving.

About 65% of sodium eaten comes from food bought at retail stores, so look for lower sodium choices. About 25% comes from restaurants, and it can be hard for a person to tell how much sodium is in restaurant foods.

Americans eat on average about 3,300 mg of sodium a day. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day, and about 6 out of 10 adults should further limit sodium to 1,500 mg a day.**

*The pasta dishes category does not include macaroni and cheese. Macaroni and cheese is its own category.

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