Nine out of 10 Americans eat more sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet. Too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which in turn can lead to heart disease and stroke. Nearly 800,000 people die each year from these and other vascular diseases. Sodium intake has a huge impact on our health.
Eating low-sodium is a real challenge
You can’t just “eat fewer pretzels” because —
- Most of the sodium we eat comes from processed foods and restaurant food.
- High sodium comes in common foods you don’t expect.
- High sodium foods don’t always taste salty.
- Breads, sandwich meats, cheese and cheesy foods like pizza & pasta, and chicken are some surprising high-sodium sources.
What can you do?
- Take control of what you put in your body by preparing more foods yourself.
- Compare labels, because brands vary their levels by a lot. And even most raw chicken and pork from the grocery store have been injected with salt water.
- Limit processed foods high in sodium.
- Eat more fruits and veggies - without sauce.
- Tell your favorite restaurants and grocers that low sodium is important to you. Make sure that cafeterias and vending machines suppliers at school and work are aware as well.
Track your sodium intake
Most people need to limit their sodium intake to at least 2,300 mg a day. However, people who are older than 50, African Americans and people with high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease may need to limit their intake to 1,500 mg a day.
On average Americans intake 3,300 mg a day, which shows how far off target we are. In today’s busy world, it’s very easy to eat twice as much sodium as you should. Learn more about the effects of a high-sodium diet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Do you want to lose weight in 2012? Since about 70% of adult Americans are overweight or obese, many of us should.
Health experts agree even small weight loss will improve your health if:
- You are considered obese based on your body mass index (BMI).
- You are considered overweight based on your BMI and have weight-related health problems or a family history of such problems.
- You have a waist that measures more than 40 inches if you are a man or more than 35 inches if you are a woman.
We all know that it’s hard to stick to a weight-loss diet that works over the long term. Choose a healthy weight loss plan that’s right for you, and that takes into account your likes and dislikes, and includes a variety of foods that give you enough calories and nutrients for good health.
Picking a plan that fits your lifestyle will make it easier for you to stick with the changes long term.
Use this tool to find out how many fruits and vegetables you should be eating and find recipe ideas.
Gluten-free foods have become very popular in supermarkets with $2.6 billion in sales - a 30 percent increase over the last five years.
Gluten, a protein naturally present in wheat, rye and barley, causes allergic reaction and intestinal damage in the approximately 3 million Americans who suffer from celiac disease. The only way to manage the disease is to eat foods free from gluten.
In order to ensure that products labeled as gluten free actually are free from gluten, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is developing regulations for food products and dietary supplements labeled as such.
The FDA is currently accepting comments on the standards they are proposing for gluten-free food labels, which are expected to be in place in early 2012.
Learn more about gluten-free food and share your thoughts on the standards.