Thanks to research from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the CDC, and the USDA, we now know that most Americans are consuming way too much salt.
Today I want to share a free excerpt from one of our sodium education brochures in order to highlight some key facts about salt and sodium. If you like what you see, get a copy of the full brochure today!
Key Fact #1: Sodium and Salt
Sodium is a key ingredient in table salt. Many health officials insist that Americans need to eat less salt, and it's the sodium part of salt that gives it its bad reputation.
Sodium acts as a flavor enhancer and preservative -- you’ll find it in most canned and frozen foods. Of course, it’s also in the salt shaker, but most of the sodium in people’s diets comes from frozen, canned, and restaurant foods.
Key Fact #2: Sodium and Your Health
Sodium can have a negative effect on your health. Its biggest impact is on your heart. Eating too much sodium can increase your blood pressure. When your blood pressure gets too high, your health could suffer. High blood pressure is dangerous because it makes your heart work harder than it should. High blood pressure also increases your risk for cardiovascular disease, dementia, and kidney disease.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, people should get no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. Less salt is good for your health -- especially your heart and brain.
Key Fact #3: Reducing Sodium
There are many ways to reduce the sodium in your eating pattern. Start by building awareness. Check the Nutrition Facts labels on the foods you buy at the grocery store. How much sodium is in a serving? If the percent daily value is 20% or more, then that food is high in sodium.
Research restaurant menus online to find low-sodium options. Then consider starting the DASH eating plan, which is a fantastic way to reduce your sodium intake.
Key Fact #4: The DASH
The DASH eating plan includes whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts. It has low levels of fats, red meats, and sweets. It is also high in potassium, calcium, and magnesium, as well as protein and fiber.
This diet is higher in fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy products than what most people are used to eating. Start slowly and make sure to find foods that appeal to you. Note the lean aspects of the meals -- low-fat dairy and lean protein are very common in this plan.
The DASH diet is also lower in sweets and sugary drinks than many people are used to.
If you would like to learn more about the DASH diet, visit www.nhlbi.nih.gov.
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.