January 16, 2009 -
Sodium or salt is part of our everyday lives and plays an important role in our daily functions.
Ashley Jones, a Dietician with St. Bernards Medical Center says we need salt. "Sodium helps regulate blood pressure, it also helps regulate your body fluids, its important with nerve function and muscle contraction. If you don't have enough sodium then you can feel weak and lethargic and can have muscle cramps and things like that."
That may be the case for olympic athletes, but for you and me... We consume way too much.
The daily average for sodium intake is 3000 to 4000 mg a day, and the recommended amount is only 2400.
2400 mg is equal to one tablespoon of salt.
We consume more than twice the recommended amount and that's raising our risks of health problems.
"Sodium can actually increase your blood pressure it can make you retain a lot of water which is hard on your heart and the higher your blood pressure is the more damage it can have on your kidneys overtime."
The problem is, most of the salt we eat isn't from the shaker... It's hidden in many of the foods we buy.
Healthy Choice Dinner (Sesame Chicken) = 400 mg
Kellog's Frosted Flakes - 3/4 cup = 140 mg
Tip: Try Puffed Rice or Puffed Wheat with no sodium.
Canned Vegetables = 200 - 400 mg
Tip: Check the freezer section or even just use fresh produce.
Progresso Traditional Chicken Noodle Soup = 900 mg
Tip: Even soups with a lower sodium label may still pack in the salt.
Campbell's Healthy Request Beef Soup (45% less sodium) = 480 mg
Ashley Jones suggest to start reading your labels and looking at how much salt you consume, and try to cut back on the salt shaker because more than likely you are getting enough salt from the food you eat that is processed. I think we just need to get back to the basics, eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, less food that comes from packages, less food from eating out, there are a lot of people eating out."
Not only should you be checking your cupboard and fridge for high sodium... Take a look inside your medicine cabinet.
One dose of alka seltzer is two tablets... But just one tablet contains nearly 2,000 mg of bicarbonate sodium... If you take the full dose that's double your daily recommended amount.
Bicarbonate sodium is dangerous if you take too much... And it can be deadly.