The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has just published the results of a sodium survey conducted in 2005-2006. Sodium (40%) and Chlorine (60%) are the two elements making up table salt.
High consumption of sodium can increase the risk for hypertension, which in turn increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, the first and third leading causes of death in the United States.
According to the CDC, 29% of U.S. adults have hypertension, and another 28% have prehypertension. That’s over half of us with high blood pressure!
Our average sodium intake is 3,436 mg/day(1.5 teaspoons), a whopping 50% higher than the USDA’s recommended 2,300 mg (1 teaspoon) daily allowance for healthy adults.
The recommendation for those in specific groups (people with hypertension, middle-aged and older adults, and all blacks) is to consume no more than 1,500 mg/day of sodium (about 2 thirds of a teaspoon).
Turns out that the special groups are not a small minority, but in fact the majority of consumers - the lower sodium recommendation was applicable to 69.2% of U.S. adults.
What to do at the supermarket:
70% of the sodium in a Western diet comes from processed food (restaurants and prepared supermarket food). The rest is added while cooking, at the table, or is found naturally in foods. So if you really want to cut down on your sodium, start reducing processed foods from your diet.
Buying basic ingredients and cooking at home, lets you control the amount of salt added to a dish. If you find home cooking to be too difficult, look at the nutrition panel of prepared foods you buy and opt for low sodium versions (less than 400mg per serving).
If you are over 40 or suffer from high blood pressure or African American, you need to be extra careful.
Here is a list of 9 tips for reducing your sodium intake.
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