Data released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) shows that Americans are consuming way more Salt than they realize. According to this study, 90 percent of children and 89 percent of adults are consuming too much sodium. Not a revelation to be taken with a grain of salt!
The average person — over all age groups — takes in about 3,440 milligrams of salt a day, which exceeds the 2,300 milligram limit recommended for health reasons.
But why is it important to limit salt intake?
- Too much sodium increases your risk for osteoporosis, kidney stones, and cancer.
- A high salt intake can raise blood pressure, which can increase heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems.
- Salt doesn’t make you gain weight, but it makes you thirsty, which makes you more likely to drink sugary beverages that can lead to weight gain.
Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to monitor and modify your sodium intake.
Most of it doesn’t come from the salt shaker, but rather from processed foods and meals that we order at restaurants. According to the CDC, the highest sodium-containing include some of the most popular food choices: pizza, cold cuts, cured meats, cheese, breads, and rolls.
Here are some great and healthy ways to lessen your salt intake:
- Buy Fresh
Avoid pre-packaged, processed products as much as possible, and instead purchase fresh meats and produce on your next shopping trip. Fresh fruits and vegetables are very low in sodium. Items that can last a long time without refrigeration often have a high Sodium Content.
- Use Sodium-Free Spices
Select spices or seasonings that do not list sodium on their labels. For example, choose garlic powder over garlic salt.
- Watch the Sodium Content at Restaurants
Most restaurants should list the sodium content of their meals on their website, so do some research before selecting a place to go out. You can also choose menu items that are naturally low in salt and sodium, such as the chicken salad with just a little dressing on the side, instead of the chili cheeseburger, ham and cheese sandwich, fries, or cheese soup.
Dr. Peter Kim, Medical Director of Fountain Valley Urgent Care, Woodbridge Walk-In, and Costa Mesa Urgent Care offers additional advice. “Processed or cured meats are really big offender, are most canned goods. Try to go easy on the bacon, Spam, soy sauce-marinated Asian foods, and canned soups. One “average” serving of any of these can nearly exceed the entire daily recommended sodium limit!”
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