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Posted Sep 03 2009 7:02pm

Did you know that about 60% of the US adult population has either pre-hypertension or hypertension?   Both conditions increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.   Heart disease is the #1 killer in North America.   

There are many ways to reduce one's risk of heart disease, whether or not we have a family history of heart disease.   Regular exercise, a body on the leaner side, a diet rich in antioxidants (fruits, vegetables, fish, and healthy oils) are part of a heart-healthy strategy.

Controlling one's sodium intake is also part of a heart-healthy program.   There was a time when scientists disagreed on whether or not to recommend controlling our salt intake.   They thought that some individuals were "salt sensitive," whereas others were not.   But the latest research has put this polemic to rest, and all individuals are cautioned to watch their sodium intake.   How much?

AHA (American Heart Association) has the following guidelines:

- Aim to eat less than 2,300 mg of salt per day (1/2 teaspoon salt/day.) Some people — African Americans, middle-aged and older adults, and people with high blood pressure — need less than 1,500 mg per day.


Common sources of sodium?

Table salt (40% sodium)

-  "Soda" (Baking soda, soda drinks, sports drinks)

- Seasonings: Soy sauce, Oyster sauce, MSG, bouillon cubes, noodle seasoning packages.

- Cured meats: ham, bacon, salami, bologna, hot dog

- Canned vegetables, meat and fish

- Snack foods: candy, crackers, cookies, chips, seasoned popcorn

- Prepared dry meals and frozen dinners.

Food choices to control sodium in the diet?

- Choose fruits, vegetables and whole-grain, high-fiber foods.

- Choose fresh, frozen or canned food items without added salts.

- Cook without salt, and only sprinkle the food with a few crystals of Fleur de Sel - Select low-salt cheeses and sodium-reduced canned or frozen foods

- Learn the real taste of each food, enjoy it, and experience with spices and herbs to expand your taste.


Here, we manage a 1,200 mg sodium intake on the Mediterranean diet, enjoying every bite of flavorful vegetables.   Redescover the taste of food: go low-sodium!   It's a healthy thing.

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