Heart disease is the leading cause of death for several populations. About 47% of Americans have heart problems and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States 1 in every 4 deaths is caused by heart disease.
While heart disease can be deadly, it is also preventable by adopting early intervention. Your diet is one of the first areas you may want to consider changing. There are a number of dietary changes you can make to improve your heart health. One of these includes limiting your sodium intake. High sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure or hypertension, which can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. According to the American Heart Association, the sodium recommendation is less than 2,300 milligrams per day. However, most Americans get over 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day.
When you think about sodium, you might picture table salt, but we get sodium from a number of food sources such as condiments, canned foods, and many more. In order to limit sodium in your diet, you can start by reading food labels to keep track of how much sodium is in the foods you eat.
Here are some tips to reduce sodium intake.
Look for the serving size of the food package. If you eat more than one serving, multiply the sodium amount per serving you take.
Select foods with 140 milligrams of sodium or less per serving. Foods with 300 milligrams of sodium per serving may not be appropriate to have in a low sodium diet.
Be a smart shopper and look for packages that say “salt-free,” “sodium-free,” and “very low sodium.” These markers indicate the food has less than 140 milligrams of sodium per serving.
Packages that say “unsalted” or “no added salt” may still contain a high amount of sodium, so be sure to check those nutrition labels too.
Sodium is essential for our body, however we often take more than what we need in our diet. Try to make low sodium food choices when grocery shopping, making your food at home, and when eating out. Reading nutrition labels can help you achieve your goal of reducing sodium intake and preventing the risk of heart disease.
Learn more tips on healthy eating and other wellness programs offered by Wellness Workdays.
Written by: Jaya Sevilla, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern