Five questions: Salt savvy
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment joined in World Salt Awareness Week earlier this spring to encourage Kansans to watch their sodium intake. Below, KDHE answers questions about sodium and its link to heart disease.
Q: Why does the amount of sodium in your diet matter?
A: Reducing sodium intake can help prevent or delay high blood pressure, a leading cause of stroke, coronary heart disease, heart attack, and heart and kidney failure in the U.S.
Q: How much is too much?
A: The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams, which is equal to about a teaspoon a day. People age 51 and older, African-Americans and anyone with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease should limit sodium to 1,500 mg a day.
Q: How many people ingest too much sodium regularly?
A: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 90 percent of Americans eat more sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet.
Q: How do I avoid excessive sodium intake?
A: “Eat more fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, eat fewer processed foods, read nutrition labels while shopping and request lower-sodium options when eating out,” said Dr. Robert Moser, KDHE secretary.
Q: What kinds of foods might contain a lot of sodium?
A: More than 40 percent of sodium comes from the following 10 types of foods, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: breads and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soups, sandwiches, cheese, pasta dishes, meat dishes, and snacks such as chips, pretzels and popcorn.