Lower Sodium Consumption is Healthier
A health report identifies ten types of foods that increase a person’s risk for heart disease and stroke.
Government health officials say that the American diet still contains too much salt. Foods that are considered high in salt may include bread, cheese, pasta, poultry and other staple foods.
A report from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention mentions that 90% of Americans eat too much salt everyday.
The CDC report states that 44 percent of the consumed salt is sourced from 10 types of foods. The list of foods include: bread, cured and deli meats, pizza, soups, cheeseburgers, fresh and processed poultry products, pasta dishes like spaghetti, meat dishes like meat loaf and salty snacks like chips, pretzels and popcorn.
Danger of High Sodium Consumption
When a person takes in too much salt, he or she increases the sodium in her body. This can cause high blood pressure, which may lead to stroke or heart disease.
The top causes of death among Americans are heart disease and stroke. These conditions are often brought about by high blood pressure and high blood pressure can result from eating or drinking double the recommended amount of sodium everyday.
The Potential Benefits of Lower Sodium Consumption
By reducing the sodium content of many types of foods and giving consumers healthier choices, it’s possible to lower the cases of death due to stroke or heart disease and to save billions of dollars that are spent on health care and treatments.
Lower Mortality Rate and Healthcare Costs
If only the 10 types of foods mentioned above are manufactured with 25 percent less sodium, the number of deaths will be slashed by 28,000 every year. Total health care costs will be reduced by $7 billion, as a result of a 10 percent reduction in overall salt intake.
People eat certain types of foods several times daily and so salt intake can add up. Bread, for example, does not have high sodium content, but its frequent intake increases total sodium intake per day.
Dietitian Samantha Heller from the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital, Derby, Connecticut recommends cooking foods at home using fresh ingredients as the best way to reduce sodium intake.
More Statistics on Sodium Consumption
The data being presented by CDC were from a nutrition study conducted from 2007 to 2008 which had 7,000 participants with ages 2 years old and above.
According to the nutrition study, 65 percent of sodium intake per day of Americans is attributed to foods purchased from the store, while 25 percent is from meals purchased from restaurants.
Not counting the extra salt added during meals, it is estimated that a person consumes approximately 3,300 milligrams of sodium daily. It is so much more than the U.S. Dietary Guidelines’ recommended salt intake of 2,300 milligrams per day.
The salt intake for people who are more than 51 years old or have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease, the recommended salt intake is only 1,500 milligrams per day. Black Americans should also follow this recommendation.
What To Do To Reduce Sodium Intake
Food companies and restaurants need to adjust the salt content of the foods and meals they sell to the public.
Consumers should take the initiative to buy more fresh fruits and veggies for personal consumption and limit the addition of sauces or dressings. Frozen products are also better than processed foods.
When buying processed foods like canned tomatoes, tomato sauce and cheese, choose those with low-sodium labels.
When shopping, be sure to educate yourself in identifying high-sodium food products from low-sodium products. Check the food labels.
Reading resource: Vital Signs: Food Categories Contributing the Most to Sodium Consumption-United States, 2007-2008. CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Feb. 7 early release edition.
Photo credits: Table Salt By Garitzko – Own work via Wikipedia, Public Domain.