Our Maine Street's Aroostook Issue 1 : Summer 2009 - Page 49

Sodium: What is the Right Amount? by professional home nursing Most Americans consume about 6000mg of salt (sodium) daily, but our bodies actually only need about 200mg each day. In general everyone needs a certain amount of sodium for good health. When you are healthy, your kidneys remove the extra sodium to keep the correct balance of sodium and water in your body. Most foods in their natural state contain sodium. Today, most sodium in our diets is added while food is being processed or prepared at home. Americans consume up to 75% of their sodium from processed foods like tomato sauce, soups, condiments, canned foods, prepared foods, mixes and fast foods. Beware, many high salt (sodium) products show relatively low sodium values on their labels based on very small serving portions (who can eat only 12 corn chips in one sitting?). There is even hidden salt in some over-the-counter drugs like antacids. Read labels carefully. Too much sodium can cause high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease and stroke. These two diseases are the number one and number two killers in the United States today. Reducing your dietary intake of sodium can drop systolic blood pressure (top number) by 5-10 mm/hg and diastolic pressure (bottom number) by 3-5mm/hg. Americans should try to eat less than 2300mg of sodium daily. Although the cost of low sodium foods can be a burden for some, maintaining a low salt (sodium) diet will benefit your overall health. A high daily sodium intake is 4000 – 6000mg daily and a low sodium intake daily is 400-1000mg daily. There are many hidden ingredients that have salt or sodium in them like: -baking powder -baking soda -monosodium glutamate (MSG) -sodium benzoate Tips to maintain a low salt (sodium) intake are: 1. Do not use salt at the table. 2. Reduce the salt used in food preparation (try to half the amount called for in recipes). How much sodium really is in these measurements? ¼ teaspoon salt = 600mg sodium ½ teaspoon salt = 1200mg sodium ¾ teaspoon salt = 1800mg sodium 1 teaspoon salt = 2300 - 2400mg sodium 3. Use herbs, spices and lemon juice flavors instead of salt. 4. Avoid salty foods such as processed meats, fish, pickles, soy sauce, cheeses, most canned or frozen foods, puddings, prepackaged mixes of any kind and any salted snack foods. Snack on fresh fruits and vegetables instead. 5. Rinse off canned foods before cooking. 6. Check food labels before you buy. Pay close attention to sodium amount to portion size information. What do these words really mean: Sodium free = 5 mg or less of sodium per serving ize s Very low sodium = 35mg or less of sodium per serving size Low sodium = 140mg or less of sodium per serving size Reduce sodium = at least 25% less sodium than the regular version of that food Light sodium = 50% less sodium than the regular version of that food No added salt = no salt is added during processing of the food that usually has salt added. Here are some high sodium foods to limit: Healthy person’s daily sodium requirement is less than 2300mg . -Salt ( 1 teasp) = 2400mg -Pretzels, small twists ( 10 ) = 966mg -Nuts, salted ( ¼ cup) = 200 – 300mg -Macaroni and cheese ( 1 cup) = 940mg -Caesar salad ( 1 cup) = 617mg -Ramen noodles ( 1 cup) = 829mg -Bagel with cream cheese ( 1 small) = 930mg -Pizza with pepperoni ( 1 slice) = 1100 - 1500mg -Hamburger – double / quarterpound fast food ( 1 ) = 1600 – 2400mg -Beans, canned ( 1 cup) = 700 – 900mg -Soy sauce ( 1 Tbsp) = 1030mg -Bullion cube ( 1 ) = 2300mg -Catsup ( 1 Tbsp) = 150 – 230mg -Tomato sauce, canned ( 1 cup) = 1440mg -Ham, lean ( 3 oz) = 1100mg -Sausage or bologna ( 3 oz) = 530 – 600mg -Hot dog, plain ( 1 ) = 600mg -Pickle ( 1 ) = 1100 – 2000mg -Soup, canned ( 1 cup) = 600 – 1200mg -Cottage cheese ( ½ cup) = 450mg -American cheese ( 1 slice ) = 250 – 400 mg SUMMER & FALL 09 County Health 47