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Archive for the ‘Sodium’ Category

Hold the Salt

Posted on: February 26th, 2015 by LAMedicalBlogger
While salt adds flavor to bland foods, most Americans get more sodium than they think.

While salt adds flavor to bland foods, most Americans get more sodium than they think.

Most people get much more sodium than what is recommended. Chances are that you aren’t aware of how much sodium is in your diet. It isn’t just table salt that you need to take into account. Most processed and prepared foods also contain sodium.

Your body needs some sodium to:

  • Help maintain the right balance of bodily fluids
  • Help transmit nerve impulses
  • Influence the contraction and relaxation of muscles

The recommended Dietary Guideline is to limit sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day but the average American gets about 3,400 mg of sodium a day.  The main sources of sodium are:

  • Processed foods with additives and preservatives
  • Natural sources like vegetables, meat and dairy products
  • In the kitchen or on the table

Most people can benefit from reducing their sodium intake. Cut back on sodium by:

  • Eating more fresh foods
  • Choose low-sodium products
  • Remove salt from recipes when possible
  • Use herbs and spices to season foods

Your kidneys balance the amount of sodium stored in your body so if your body’s sodium levels are low, your kidneys hold on to the sodium. If your sodium is high, the kidneys excrete the excess. But if your kidneys can’t get rid of enough of the sodium, it starts to build up in your blood. Since sodium holds water, this causes your blood volume to increase. Your heart must then work harder and the pressure in your arteries increases.

Throughout February, LA Medical has been offering different things you can do to keep your heart healthy. Limiting your sodium intake is one small way you can take care of your heart. You can find more information about heart health in our previous blogs.