How Much Sodium Are You Really Eating? It May Be Putting You at Risk for Stroke
The average American consumes up to 3 teaspoonfuls of salt a day. However, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that adults consume less than 1 teaspoon or 2,400 mg of salt daily.
"Reducing the amount of sodium you consume may help you reduce or avoid high blood pressure," said Gary Burke, D.O., a clinical cardiologist on staff at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center. "People with high blood pressure are more likely to develop heart disease and stroke, the No. 1 and No. 3 killers in the United States today. Limiting the amount of salt is also one of the most important things that a patient with congestive heart failure can do. Sodium causes the body to retain fluid. The heart is then forced to work harder to handle this extra volume of fluid. People with heart failure cannot afford this extra strain on the heart."
REDUCING YOUR RISKS
One way to reduce your risk of developing serious health problems is by eating less sodium. It's easy to avoid sprinkling extra salt on your food at dinner, but harder to avoid the salt in many prepared foods. Here are some examples of common foods that you might be surprised to find have high levels of sodium:
- Chocolate pudding (1/2 cup) -- 417 mg
- Tomato pasta sauce (1 cup) -- 1,203 mg
- Rye bread (1 slice) -- 211 mg
- Baked beans (1 cup) -- 856 mg
- Fried fish fillet, breaded or battered -- 484 mg
- American cheese (1 oz) -- 422 mg
- Canned chunky vegetable soup (1 cup) -- 1,010 mg
- choosing fresh, frozen or canned foods without added salt;
- selecting unsalted nuts, seeds, dried beans, peas or lentils;
- limiting salty snacks you eat;
- selecting unsalted, fat-free broths or soups;
- eating fat-free or low-fat milk, low-sodium, low-fat cheeses and low-fat milk;
- asking for unsalted dishes when eating out;
- using other spices to enhance the flavor of your food.
FDA SODIUM GUIDELINES
Learn these food label terms and keep your sodium intake in check:
Low-sodium: 140 mg or less per serving
Reduced sodium: usual sodium level is reduced by 25 percent
Unsalted, no salt added or without added salt: a food is made without the salt that's normally used, but still contains the sodium that's a natural part of the food itself.Gary Burke, D.O.
Dr. Burke is a member of Associated Cardiovascular Consultants, P.A., with offices in Cherry Hill, Egg Harbor Township, Hammonton, Medford, Voorhees and Woodbury, N.J., (856) 428-4100.