Sneaky Sodium

It’s very clear eating too much salt is bad for you. 9 in 10 Americans consume more than the recommended amount of 1 teaspoon a day. In fact, the American Heart Association found typical Americans consume more than twice that much! Indulging in sodium can lead to a bevy of heart ailments, high blood pressure, kidney disease, osteoarthritis, stroke, and cancer.

In case you didn’t know, 70% of the extra salt comes from the processed foods you buy at the grocery store and at restaurants. However, there are sneaky sources too.

I was surprised to learn that shrimp, packaged, plain, or frozen, contains almost a third of your daily limit, largely in the form of preservatives. A 3-ounce piece of ham contains almost half of your daily allowance. Cold cuts and Salami? Hot Dogs? How about Cottage cheese? Vegetable Juice? Salad Dressing? Pickles? Pizza? Baked Beans? Frozen Meals, even “healthy ones”? Pickles? All can quickly bust your “low salt” diet.

To protect yourself, read those nutrition labels. Remember, your daily allowance is 1,500 milligrams, that single teaspoon.

Cut sodium consumption by eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy, skinless poultry and fish, fresh meat, and “no salt” nuts and legumes. Be alert for these words: pickled, smoked, cured, barbecued. Those can signal high sodium. Instead, try seasoning with your favorite herb. Even “salt substitutes” still contain sodium.

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