Hold the Salt - Why do you need a reduced sodium diet?

Uploaded by NCPAD on 11.03.2010

Approximately 1 in 4 Americans has elevated blood pressure. High blood pressure
increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, which are the first and third
leading causes of death respectively. Blood pressure is defined as the force of
blood against artery walls. High blood pressure or hypertension means that your
heart is working harder than normal. If left untreated high blood pressure can
cause damage throughout the body. Various research studies have provided strong
evidence that consuming a moderately reduced intake of sodium contributes to
lowering blood pressure. While some researchers think that the answer to
treating high blood pressure may not be that simple. A moderate salt intake
is recommended for all American to help prevent and treat hypertension.
Sodium is a mineral that the body needs in very small amounts. It helps with
muscle contraction and also helps to keep other minerals soluble in the blood.
Sodium is found in out foods mostly as sodium chloride. Sodium chloride is
another name for table salt. Most health experts recommend not exceeding
2400 mg of sodium per day which is about 1 teaspoon. However, beneficial effects
on blood pressure have been seen by not exceeding 1500 mg of sodium a day.
If you have heart disease or have had a stroke this lower sodium
recommendation should be followed. An individual may find that his or her blood
pressure is lower than normal after a spinal cord injury. However, this
does not mean that you don’t have to worry. You should get your blood pressure
checked and know what your baseline is. Monitor any increases above your
baseline as potential evidence of hypertension and remember to get your blood
pressure checked regularly. Even if you don’t have high blood pressure
its still a very good idea to watch the amount of sodium in your diet. Reducing
the amount of sodium in your diet can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular
disease, reduce the extra fluid in your body since sodium holds water and also
helps you cut down on processed foods in general that not only contain added
salt but likely also contain added fats and sugar. Today we're going to take
a closer look at how to watch the amount of sodium in your diet at the grocery
store and when dining out. Ok, we're here at the grocery store. Let’s
go take a look inside. With the thousands of foods on our grocery
store shelves it can be overwhelming to even enter a grocery store let alone know
what to look for. Today we're going to take a look at how to watch your sodium
when you're grocery shopping. In addition to limiting the amount of sodium
in your food, for blood pressure control you also want to increase some nutrients
especially magnesium and potassium. Both of those nutrients can really
help keep you're blood pressure under control. Foods rich in magnesium include
broccoli and spinach, so those are great sources. These are both very healthy
green vegetables that are good for your health in general and especially
help with keeping your blood pressure normal. Potassium is another nutrient that’s
very important in helping keep your blood pressure under control. Food rich
in potassium are bananas, tomatoes, oranges and orange juice. These are all very
rich sources of potassium. It’s important to watch the amount of sodium
in your meats. For example, things like processed meats like hot dogs are very
very high in sodium. That’s something you ought to limit in your diet. Also any
luncheon meats are very high in salt because salt is a preservative so any meat
like this that is preserved or processed is going to be a lot higher in sodium.
So the best thing you could do is start with more fresh meat like fresh
chicken and start from scratch in cooking it so that you don’t have a very
high amount of sodium in something like a processed meat.
When you're look at the sodium in your food you want to especially watch
packaged food and canned food because sodium is often added to those foods as a
preservative. Which means that the sodium helps keep foods more shelf stable,
meaning that they last longer on the shelves. So things like snack foods such
as these chips can be very very high in sodium. For example, this small snack bag
of chips actually contains 300mg of sodium which is a lot of sodium for such
a small bag. In addition, packaged foods generally can contain added fats and
sugars as well. Dressings and any kind of marinades and sauces can also be
very high in sodium. For example this one here, for 2 tablespoons of dressing,
which is a pretty small amount, it contains 340 mg of sodium, so that’s very
high in sodium as well. Canned foods can also be very high in sodium. For
example beans can be a great source of protein but the canned beans tend to be
very high in sodium. Again, because sodium is added to help keep them shelf stable.
So for example, there's three and a half servings of beans in this one can but
1 serving is 340 mg. Now what you can do is if you buy the canned beans, you can
first of all look for reduced sodium versions which they have or what you can
also do it before you use them what you do is open the can, put them in a
colander or strainer and run water over the beans for about 30 seconds and
that will rinse off a lot of that extra sodium. Another thing that you can do is
buy the dry beans such as the ones up here. They're not as ready to use because
you have to soak them overnight but those won't contain any added salt because
they're not in the can. Other canned foods such as canned vegetables can also
be very high in sodium. You're better off with fresh or even frozen over
canned because the canned have that added sodium.
Alright, lets pick up this fast food burger and fries.
Do you have the sodium availability or the nutrition facts for your food to hand out?
Cashier: You know what; I don’t think that we have anymore today.
Ok, that’s fine. Well we have our food but you see when I asked
about the nutrition facts they did have it available.
Thank, have a good day. Eating at restaurants has become a very favorite
American past time. And why wouldn't it be? You don’t have to
cook and the foods tasty. But it’s very important to be aware of what you don’t
always know is in your food. many restaurants use added fats and salts to flavor their food,
that’s why they tend to taste so good. Heres an average fast food burger and
fries. They're tasty but you can tell they're loaded with salt. You can even
see the salt on the fries. When we calculated the sodium content of this average
fast food burger and fries we found that it was 1,920 mg of sodium. This
is another common fast food, especially in Chicago, the Chicago style hot
dog. Very common. It actually has on it pickle, celery salt
in addition to the high sodium hot dog. When we calculated the sodium content
of the hot dog with the average fries, that was actually 2270 mg of sodium.
Now remember, most health experts agree that you don’t want to get
more than 2400 mg of sodium in a day. And beneficial effects for blood pressure
have been seen by having 1500 mg or less per day. So you can see how these
meals are almost a full day or more of sodium. Many restaurants have published
their nutrition facts online or have them available at their establishments so
be sure that you either check online or that you ask in the restaurants to make
sure that you can pick the healthiest choices for you. The other things that’s
important to keep in mind is that dining out in restaurants should be a treat
and not something that you do on a regular basis. As you can see, you tend
to get added salt and added fats in the foods and you're not sure what you're
getting sometimes. Whether you're dining at a fast food restaurant or a five
star restaurant, sodium is a very common additive to many foods. It keeps the
food tasty and keeps customers coming back.
I hope you've learned a lot today about how you can make healthier choices by
reducing the amount of sodium in your diet. I hope that next time you go to the
grocery store you feel more informed to make the best choices and I hope
you've been convinced that dining out should not be something you do on a
regular basis. Thank-you so much for joining me today for Hold the Salt.