Day 2: Manage Your Salt
Put down the salt shaker. The average American consumes 3,400 milligrams of sodium (salt) per day. The recommended amount is 1,500 milligrams or less, according to the American Heart Association.
You don’t have to shake sodium completely from your diet, but it’s important to manage the amount you consume.
Sodium and Heart Disease
Sodium is needed to control blood pressure and support nerves and muscles, but if you exceed the recommended amount, it could cause serious damage. When you have more sodium in your blood stream, blood pressure can increase and force your heart to work harder to pump blood through your body. If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to heart attack and stroke. In the end, less sodium is more.
Tips to Reduce Sodium
- While grocery shopping, choose frozen or fresh produce over canned food items. Canned food tends to have more sodium added, but you may be able to find options with a “no salt added” label.
- When dining out, ask for your meal to be made without extra sodium or choose foods that are steamed, baked, grilled, poached or roasted because they tend to have less sodium.
- Look closely at the sodium count on packaged foods and choose the item with the lowest amount of sodium.
- Spice it up by exploring low-sodium recipes online for new meal options.
- If possible, track the amount of sodium you have per day. You can find digital trackers online, as well as templates you can print out to keep it top of mind each day.
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