Sodium: How Much is Too Much?
Sodium, which is most commonly found in the form of salt, is an essential mineral to the human body. Though essential, there is such thing as eating too much. According to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Americans across the board are eating well above the Tolerable Upper Intake Recommendations set out by the Institute of Medicine. The recommendation for Americans over 14 years old is no more than 2300 mg sodium or 1 teaspoon of salt per day. The American Heart Association recommends moving towards no more than 1500 mg of sodium per day. The average American is consuming around 3,400 mg per day!
What’s the Problem with Eating Too Much Salt?
Eating more than 2300 mg of salt per day puts one at risk for developing high blood pressure which can lead to heart disease and stroke. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the US. 1 in every 4 deaths is caused by heart disease.
Where’s the Salt Coming From?
Over 70% of the sodium we consume comes from commercially processed and prepared foods. This means that the majority of our sodium intake is from eating out at restaurants and consuming prepared, packaged foods. For example, a McDonald’s quarter pounder with cheese has a whopping 1110 mg of sodium. Pair this with a large fries and you’re at 1460 mg which is 63% of the upper tolerable limit and close to meeting the daily limit recommended by the American Heart Association.
How Do I Reduce My Sodium Intake?
Try the following tips to lower your sodium intake:
- · Read the Nutrition Facts label – look for key words such as “no salt added,” “low-sodium,” compare nutrition labels of different brands of the same food and choose those that have the lowest amount of sodium per serving.
- · Focus on Fruits and Vegetables – Most Americans are not meeting the recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. These foods are rich is potassium which is essential for controlling blood pressure and countering the effects of too much sodium.
- · Prepare Meals at Home – When you cook at home you are in control of how much salt is added to foods. You can season foods such as meats and vegetables with spices and herbs like garlic, oregano and parsley to add flavor to the meal without the extra salt. Check out the American Heart Association’s website for some simple, tasty meals your family will love! https://recipes.heart.org/en
- · See a Registered Dietitian – Have you been diagnosed with high blood pressure or heart disease? The dietitians at Lemond Nutrition are licensed professionals who can help you with making the necessary diet and lifestyle changes you need to get on track to a healthier you! Please do not hesitate. Give us a call today at 972-422-9180.