We’re 10 days into February, I am sure you’ve heard it is American Heart month. February is all about raising awareness of the scary fact that more than 800,000 people die each year from heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. The American Heart Association states that 80% of heart disease and stroke is preventable. High blood pressure is the leading cause of heart disease and stroke.
There are many ways to help control and lower your blood pressure such as diet and exercise. The amount of sodium in our diet negatively impacts our blood pressure which increases our chances for heart problems. Many adults and children are consuming too much sodium. It is recommended to take in less than 2,300mg per day, though many of us are eating about 3,400mg.
Salt can be hidden or added to many of the foods we like and choose to eat. Actually, 44% of the sodium we eat comes from 10 types of food. Those foods include breads and rolls, lunch and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soups, sandwiches, cheese, pasta dishes, meat dishes, and snacks such as chips, pretzels, or popcorn.
To limit the amount of salt we consume, we can look at Nutrition Fact labels on foods. Different brands of the same food can contain more or less sodium. Many foods, such as chicken noodle soup or pre-packaged meat, can vary between brands. Limiting products that are “instant” or ready-made can reduce the amount of sodium in our diet. Purchasing low sodium, reduced sodium, or no salt added products will help, too. Being smart shoppers and aware of the choices we make can impact our heart health, and who doesn’t want a healthier heart?