Why is Processed Food High in Sodium?

Take look at the typical American diet that includes pizza, French fries, fast food, potato chips, and other foods. You'll find that all of these foods are high in sodium. That's true for many processed foods, as well as foods served in major restaurants. A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that the average restaurant meal contains 3,510 milligrams of sodium. But the National Institutes of Health recommends no more than 1,500 milligrams per day.

High amounts of sodium are used in processed foods to prolong shelf life and enhance the flavors of foods. And some public health experts believe food manufacturers also load up prepared foods with sodium because it's addictive, and helps generate more money from salt-craving consumers.

Why is too much sodium a problem?

Every time you visit the doctor, you get your blood pressure checked. Your blood pressure should be 120/80, and if yours is higher than that you have an increased risk for serious health problems.

High blood pressure forces your heart to work harder to pump blood through your arteries. The increased pressure can harm the health of arteries and veins, damage the brain and kidneys, and lead to heart disease. High blood pressure has even been linked to blindness, nerve damage, and bone loss. And yet these conditions are almost entirely preventable by keeping your blood pressure under control.

How much sodium are you consuming a day?

If you're not sure how much sodium you're consuming in a day, take some time to find out. Read food labels before you buy products at the store. And if you're going out to eat, look for nutrition information online or at restaurants before you order from the menu. Limiting the amount of sodium you consume in your diet can protect your heart and your health.

Preparing your own meals using raw foods is a good way to limit sodium in your diet. You can also find many healthy, tasty, and easy-to-prepare low-sodium meals at MagicKitchen.com.

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