Shake the Salt Habit to Protect Your Heart

You toss back a couple slices of pizza, munch your way through a bag of chips, slurp down a can of soup, and snack on some salted nuts. Maybe you don’t eat this way, but a lot of people do. This kind of diet is high in sodium, and it’s bad for your heart.

When you eat a lot of high-sodium foods, the sodium is absorbed in your blood stream. It makes it harder for your kidneys to remove excess water. The higher volume streaming through your veins raises your blood pressure and makes it harder for your heart to pump blood.

Ever wonder how much sodium you eat per day? The average adults eats about 3,400 mg of sodium per day. But health experts recommend 2,300 mg. No wonder 1 in 3 adults has high blood pressure and heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A controversial study

While health experts have long advised people to cut back on sodium, a recent study suggests that limiting sodium may actually increase the risk for heart disease and early death. And its had an unsavory taste in the medical community.

“The link is proven between excess sodium and high blood pressure,” says American Heart Association President Dr. Mark Creager. “...I find it worrisome that adoption of the authors’ recommendations may reverse the progress that has occurred in modifying dietary sodium intake and reducing the risk of high blood pressure and its effect on heart disease and stroke. Today’s widely accepted sodium recommendations are based on well-founded scientific research – and that’s what people should understand.”

Many other health professionals support Creager’s position on the benefits of low-sodium diets.

Make smart food choices to limit sodium

If you want to protect your health and your heart, following a low-sodium diet (1,500 to 2,300 mg of sodium a day), is still recommended by the American Heart Association and other major health organizations. The best way to control sodium in your diet is to eat more plant-based foods, and whole foods made from fresh ingredients. And that’s exactly what you’ll find in these Low-Sodium meals.