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Heart Healthy Eating: Selecting Salt



Similar to fats, our bodies need sodium (salt) to function, but too much sodium can cause high blood pressure or fluid retention. How does salt raise your blood pressure? Salt causes your body to hold onto water. If you eat too much, the extra water in your blood puts extra pressure on your blood vessel walls, which increases your blood pressure. Consuming too much sodium increases your chances of heart disease and stroke.


“But I don’t add salt to my meals, so I’m fine right?” Well, not necessarily. Unfortunately, many foods in the U.S have high amounts of sodium hidden in them. When reading food labels, look for words like “soda” or “sodium” or “Na”, this means that sodium is present. Foods like canned soup, some breads, and cured meats are typically very high in sodium.


“So how much sodium in a day is okay?” Great question! While it differs from person to person, it is recommended to consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day.


There are ways to decrease salt in your diet, including:

  1. Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned fruits and vegetables.



2. Using salt-free herbs and spices.



3. Reducing the amount of fast food you eat, or choosing heart healthier options at fast

food restaurants.



4. Eat fewer processed foods, such as frozen meals, and instant mashed potatoes.





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