Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Shakedown on Salt

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The scoop on Salt: Sodium is essential for your body in small amounts. It helps your muscles function, lets your nerves send signals, and keeps body fluids in check.

 Before you go help yourself to an extra serving of Salt – wait! 
The average American gets about twice the amount of sodium the body needs. Too much sodium causes your body to hold water – this increases blood pressure and can seriously damage your heart and kidneys in the long-term.

Dietary Salt 
Salt sneaks into your diet: A pinch of table salt here and a dash there can quickly lead to unhealthy sodium levels. Just one teaspoon of table salt, and your daily limit is nearly reached! And salt isn't just in the kitchen, it's hidden in foods that you might not realize.  Convenience foods and restaurant meals all contain “hidden sodium” – this makes up more than 75% of the sodium Americans consume! Watch out for... 
 Processed Meats       Canned Soup               Fast Food  
       3 oz. Cured Ham           1 cup Chicken Noodle Soup       Burger King Whopper 

 Lowering Salt Intake Improving Your Health
Over time, a high salt intake can lead to uncontrolled high blood pressure (hypertension) and can cause serious health problems. Fortunately, there is a proven dietary approach to prevent and control blood pressure - the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). The DASH diet is not a weight loss plan - it's a healthy way of eating that has been proven to lower blood pressure. Following the DASH diet, and tracking your food intake using Bon'App will help to ensure that your limit Salt intake to achieve your healthy eating goals!  

The DASH diet: The eating plan is loaded with important nutrients including calcium, potassium, fiber, and protein. When following the DASH diet, you should limit your intake of Bad Fat and Salt and instead consume these DASH approved foods:
  • Fruits and Veggies: Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, and choose fresh or frozen instead of canned.
  • Low-Fat Dairy: Try to consume at least 2 to 3 servings of low-fat dairy per day (use Bon'App to ensure you meet this goal). 
  • Whole-Grains: Breads and pastas made with whole-grains are high in fiber, which can help control blood pressure. Look for products with “whole-grain” listed as the first word on the ingredient list, then use Bon’App to track your fiber intake and ensure you meet your daily goal. 

Shake Your Salt Habit

  • If a recipe calls for salt, cut the amount in half.
  • Add flavor to your meals with spices and herbs, instead of the saltshaker.
  • Make your own soups and frozen dinners, and skip the pre-packaged items.
  • Limit fast food intake. 

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