Superfood Tip: Become salt savvy for improved health
The human body needs a small amount of sodium to function, but most Americans consume too much, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High sodium consumption can raise blood pressure, and high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Heart disease and stroke are the nation’s first and fifth leading causes of death, respectively.
Most Americans already consume more sodium daily than is recommended before they ever pick up a salt shaker, because about 71 percent of the average American’s daily intake is found in packaged, processed, store-bought and restaurant foods, according to the CDC on the salt webpage.
Sodium is everywhere. Foods that otherwise seem healthy may have high levels of sodium. Examples given by the CDC include cottage cheese and turkey breast deli meat, both often high in added sodium.
The CDC offers the following five tips for buying less sodium added foods at the supermarket.
• Buy fresh, frozen (no sauce), or no salt added canned vegetables.
• Use fresh poultry, fish, pork and lean meat, rather than canned or processed meats, but double check to see if saline or salt solution has been added — if so, choose another brand.
• When available, buy low sodium, lower sodium, reduced sodium or no salt added versions of products.
• Limit your use of sauces, mixes and instant products, including flavored rice and ready-made pasta.
• Compare nutrition facts labels on food packages for percent daily value or amount of sodium in milligrams.
Learn more at cdc.gov/salt/index.htm.
When you hear “family medicine,” think of your family doctor — the person who provides you with general health care for all ages.