Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High blood pressure is a key heart disease risk factor and a diet high in sodium contributes to the development of hypertension and heart disease. With February being Heart Awareness Month, this is a great time to take a look at steps you can follow to be heart healthy and reduce your sodium intake.
The average American consumes double the recommended amount of sodium, which is listed at 2,300 milligrams for adults in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. And with sodium being so readily available it is easy for your sodium consumption to rise.
Reduce Sodium Consumption
A few things you can do to reduce your sodium consumption:
- Avoid adding salt to your food for two weeks and chances are you wont want to return to using as much. After that, gradually decrease usage so your body gets used to less sodium and doesnt crave it.
- Limit the amount and servings of processed foods such as fast food, canned soups and frozen meals.
- Reduce the amount of condiments you consume such as mustard, ketchup, dressings and sauces.
- Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and less canned foods.
- Eat lean ground beef, low-sodium processed meats and hamburgers from scratch.
- Flavor your food with spices, herbs, fruit juices and zest from citrus fruit.
The most alarming fact is that without even realizing it, we ingest a large amount of sodium every day, says registered dietician Ryan Whitcomb of Whitsons Culinary Group. It is present in canned and some frozen vegetables, in smoked meats, cheeses, and in most processed foods. Keep in mind that large amounts of sodium can increase your blood pressure, forcing your kidneys and heart to work harder."
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Read more about sodium in your diet