Would you like some fries with your salt?

SaltI can never get enough of fast-food French fries. I find them so addicting, and I think it is because they have a lot of salt. When I do give in, I choose to order the smallest size. But there are times when I want more, and I find myself sneaking them off my children’s plate!

By now, we have all heard and read that the average person eats way too much sodium. Here are some facts to take in: One teaspoon of salt contains 2300 mg of sodium. The American Heart Association recommends consuming less than 1500 mg of sodium a day. Our bodies only requires 200 mg of sodium per day; however, on average, we eat about 3000 mg per day – much more than we need for our daily consumption. When we eat too much sodium our body retains water and this extra fluid puts extra stress on our hearts and blood vessels leading to high blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to heart disease or stroke.

We get most of our extra sodium by adding it to the foods we are preparing or by eating a lot of pre-packaged foods. Sodium is a flavor enhancer, and it also used to help preserve the life of pre-packaged food. Some medications even have sodium added to them.

So here are some quick actions you can take to help reduce your sodium intake:

  • Get in the habit of reading food labels to reduce your sodium intake. You should look for foods that have less than 140 mg of sodium per serving.  Look for products that state low sodium or no salt added.
  • Avoid using table salt to enhance the taste of food. Instead, use spices & herbs for added flavor.
  • Try eating more lean meats, fresh vegetables and fruits.
  • Finally, if you are going to eat something that contains a lot of sodium, watch your portions…and don’t steal that extra French fry from your loved one’s plate.

Healthy Eating!!!

Submitted by Renne Pfister, RN, Chest Pain Center Coordinator at Franciscan St. Margaret Health.

The Chest Pain Centers at both Franciscan St. Margaret Health’s Hammond and Dyer campuses were the first accredited centers in Northwest Indiana and only two of 27 in the state. Accreditation by the Society of Chest Pain Centers means that you can be confident that our Emergency and Cardiac departments have the right specialists, processes and equipment in place to provide the highest level of care for patients experiencing chest pain.

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