Be Good to your Heart: 5 Tips to Slash the Salt
By Capt Denise Campbell, Registered Dietitian (RD), 52nd Medical Group / Published January 30, 2017
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas --
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 90 percent of Americans aged 2 years and older eat too much sodium.1 The daily recommendation for sodium is 2300mg/day (or 1500mg/day if you are age 51 or older, African American of any age, or have a diagnosis of high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease2). Too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure (hypertension), which is sometimes called the silent killer because the signs and symptoms can be difficult to identify. Over time, uncontrolled blood pressure can lead to heart disease or stroke. In honor of Heart Month, be good to your ticker, and slash some sodium from your diet!
- Read your nutrition labels: According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics3, look for foods that provide 140mg or less sodium per serving to stay under your daily sodium budget.
- Skip the take-out: Americans dine out 5 times per week on average; a study conducted in 2012 found the average sodium content of a restaurant entrée is 1,512mg, which is 66% of the daily value…in just one meal!4 Preparing your meals at home ensures you have control over salty condiments and ingredients.
- Convenience has a price: Convenience, pre-packaged, and “instant” foods can put a dent in your sodium budget as well. For example, 1 packet of flavored instant oatmeal contains 170-300mg, while plain old fashioned oatmeal contains 0mg of sodium.
- Know the “Salty Six”: According to the American Heart Association, the six categories of foods that contribute the most sodium to our diet are bread and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soup, and sandwiches5. Check out their infographic for more information.
- Flavor foods in other ways: Retrain your taste buds! Fresh or dried herbs and spices provide plenty of flavors without the salt. Skip the garlic salt, onion salt and celery salt, and opt for garlic power or onion powder instead. Try this salt-free all-purpose blend from the USDA.