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.