Most people know that chips, pretzels, crackers and salted nuts and popcorn are loaded with sodium. But you may be surprised to learn how much sodium (salt) lurks in canned soups, processed cheeses, hot dogs, bacon, lunch meat, frozen meals, sauce and gravy mixes, stuffing, soy sauce, bouillon cubes, and other processed foods. Even if you choose turkey or chicken that cuts the fat content, it’s the processing that adds sodium. Sodium (salt) is used as a preservative. A bowl of corn flakes can have about the same amount of salt as a small packet of plain chips.
Looking at labels can help you find the sodium in your grocery items. But realize that the sodium listing is for just one serving size, not the whole container. Watch your portions and serving sizes. “If you eat fast food even once a week, you are probably eating 2 to 3 times as much salt as you need,” says Jill Minette, R.D., assistant director of clinical nutrition at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
High Sodium Intake and Health Conditions
The sodium level in our body is mainly regulated by our kidneys.
Too much sodium can contribute to many health conditions:
• high blood pressure
• heart failure
• kidney problems/stones
• gastric cancer
• edema (swelling)
• enlarged heart
• osteoporosis (thin/weak bones)
Read Food Labels, Ask for Nutritional Information, Make Better Choices
Check nutritional information of food labels before you buy a product.
Look for the amount of salt (sodium, Na), monosodium glutamate (MSG), baking soda or soda (sodium bicarbonate), baking powder, sodium benzoate, sodium sulfite, sodium nitrite, etc. present in the product.
Do not keep salt shaker on the dining table
Choose fruits and vegetables as snacks, rather than snack foods
Choose fresh, frozen or canned items without added salts or of the reduced salt variety
Select unsalted nuts or seeds
Select unsalted, fat-free broths, bouillons or soups
Select fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese with low sodium
Add spices, herbs, garlic and lemon juice to cooking instead of salt to enhance the taste and flavor of foods.
Use half the amount of salt recommended in a recipe.
Some medications contain high amounts of sodium. Look for it or ask your health provider.
(Any information presented through MD Wellspring is not intended to substitute for your doctor’s recommendations)
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