Don’t crack under pressure; pass on the salt

Have you ever thought about how much sodium you get daily? Even if you have, you’ve likely underestimated what you really consume: The average American takes in more than twice the recommended amount.

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500 mg of sodium daily for African-Americans and people 51 and older, as well as people with diabetes, high blood pressure, or chronic kidney disease.

One teaspoon of salt (sodium chloride) equals about 2,000 mg.

Sodium is an essential mineral. It helps nerves and muscles to work and keeps fluids balanced. However, in some people, sodium increases blood pressure, placing added stress on the heart. More than 76 million Americans have been diagnosed with high blood pressure. Likely, more are undiagnosed; high blood pressure usually has no symptoms, so people don’t realize they have it or should get it checked out.

About 75% of most people’s sodium intake comes from processed and prepared foods. Make a habit of reading food labels on products you buy and nutrition information provided by fast-food restaurants and other eateries.

Source: American Heart Association

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