St. E. Healthy Headlines: You’re probably consuming too much salt; tips for maintaining a healthy sodium limit

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Saint Elizabeth Health Care

Do you know if you are consuming too much salt daily in the foods and drinks you enjoy?

The truth is, you probably are.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the average American consumes more than 3,400 mg of sodium per day. That’s nearly 50% more than the recommended daily limit of 2,300 mg, as defined by the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and more than double the AHA’s ideal limit of 1,500 mg. of sodium per day for most adults.

But you don’t have to be a statistic. With a little care, you can help control your sodium intake.

“Reducing your sodium intake is one of the most effective steps you can take to prevent cardiovascular disease,” says Darek Sanford MD, cardiologist at the Florence Wormald Heart & Vascular Institute in St. Elizabeth. “Limiting salt in your daily diet can go a long way to reducing your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.”

How do I limit my sodium intake?

Check the sodium content of foods and drinks by quickly scanning the Nutrition Facts label on their packaging. Choose foods that ideally contain less than 5% of the recommended daily sodium intake per serving.

Whenever possible, choose “low-salt” or “no-salt” options for staples such as soups, crackers, salad dressings and condiments.

Rarely eat foods high in sodium — including processed foods like deli meats and hot dogs — and be on the lookout for surprising sources of sodium, like sodas and sports drinks.

Prioritize the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables over processed and commercially packaged foods, which are generally high in sodium. Likewise, limit the amount of fast food and restaurant foods you eat on a regular basis, as it’s easier to control your sodium intake when you’re preparing your meals at home.

Recognizing that prepared and restaurant foods are an important factor in Americans’ high-sodium habit, the FDA announced new guidelines last fall to encourage sodium reduction in 163 categories of processed foods. prepared and prepackaged.

“Many people are surprised to learn that more than 70% of the sodium consumed by the average American comes from packaged and prepared foods as well as restaurant foods,” says Dr. Sanford. “Avoiding highly processed foods is an important step to help lower your overall sodium intake.”

Finally, if you think your food needs a little more flavor, use pepper or other herbs and seasonings, or consider salt substitutes with potassium instead of using the salt shaker.

What should I do if I have questions about my heart health?

Eating well, exercising and reducing your sodium intake are great ways to keep your heart healthy.

But if you have questions about your heart health — or if you’re experiencing symptoms like repeated headaches or high blood pressure — talk to a doctor first.

Make an appointment with a cardiologist at Florence Wormald Heart & Vascular Institute in St. Elizabeth by visiting stelizabeth.com/heart or by calling (859) 287-3045.

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