Centsable Health: Heart Health and Sodium

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Sodium is essential to live, but most Americans are consuming between 3000 and 6000 mg per day. That is 2-3 times more than the recommended amount (recommended amount is 1500-2300 mg per day depending on your health history). Remember, this recommendation is not just the salt you add to your foods – it is the total amount you eat in one day from ALL sources.

  • Iodized salt is traditional table salt. It is only partly made of sodium – its 40% sodium and 60% chloride. Iodized salt has iodine added to prevent goiters – which were common in the 1920’s. Iodized salt tends to smaller and finer than sea salt or kosher salt.
  • Kosher salt has a larger grain and is usually not iodized. This type of salt may be problematic if the recipe you are using does not have enough liquid to dissolve the large grain.
  • Sea salt is from evaporated sea water and can vary widely. It is also generally more expensive than regular table salt. Although sea salt provides other minerals besides sodium and chloride, it is still not an effective way to reduce you sodium intake.
  • Salt substitutes don’t contain sodium, but they are not a healthful option for everyone, especially if you have kidney disease. The extra potassium in salt substitutes may interfere with certain medications, so make sure you check with your health care provider before switching.
  • Sodium can cause you to hang onto water inside your body, which makes your heart work harder. This causes high blood pressure.
  • If you are trying to decrease sodium, make sure to compare labels. Sodium content can vary widely in kosher and sea salt, but there is generally around 2300 mg of sodium in one teaspoon of salt – that is actually at the higher end of the daily recommended value.
  • It would be better to try to limit sodium sources instead of changing your salt. Try getting rid of the salt shaker, and limiting processed foods, soups and frozen dinners.
  • Salt is an acquired taste – your taste buds will adjust in about 2 weeks

For more Heart Healthy recipe ideas, visit Fareway's website by clicking here.

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