You’ve known for a while now that sodium isn’t good for you. Your significant other tells you to cut down, the doctor says it’s a no-no, and even your kids have gotten in on the action. Yet, you find yourself reaching for that shaker over and over again.
Sodium Intake and Age
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 90% of Americans eat more sodium than they should, checking in at an average of 3,300 mg each day.
The CDC goes on to recommend that healthy people should start to reduce sodium intake, especially when you hit age 40, ensuring that you get no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day by the age of 51. African Americans, those with hypertension, diabetics and those with chronic kidney disease should never consume more than 1,500 mg–that’s about 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
Why Watch Sodium?
Too much sodium elevates your blood pressure, which then puts you at risk for stroke, heart attack and other diseases. (Not to mention that pesky water retention and bloating thing.)
High Sodium Foods That May Surprise You
You probably already know that processed foods like those yummy snacks you eat are full of sodium. However, there are other foods that contain a high amount of sodium that you may find surprising.
Here are some foods that most of us reach for as “healthier choices,” but have a high amount of sodium:
- Poultry (fresh and processed)
- Cottage Cheese
- Luncheon Meats (even lean cuts)
- Frozen Foods and Dinners
- Breakfast Cereals (yep, even the “healthy” kind)
- Vegetable Juices
- Canned Vegetables
- Pre-Made Soups
- Spaghetti Sauce
- Baked or Fat Free Pretzels (and Chips)
How To Lower Sodium Intake
- Purchase unsalted, sodium-free, and low-sodium options at the store.
- Cut down on prepackaged foods and opt to make your own fresh stuff at home.
- Ask how your food is prepared at restaurants.
- Reduce or eliminate fast food.
- Check the labels on your food and be sure to compare the sodium to the serving size.
- Use a salt alternative like Mrs. Dash and other spices.