Any one of us could rattle off a dozen obviously salty foods.  And we know when we add our own salt to our food.

Unfortunately, up to 80% of the salt in our foods was put there by someone other than us.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Americans get almost one-third of their sodium from breads and rolls, chicken and chicken dishes, pizza, egg dishes and pasta dishes, partly because these foods contain so much added salt and partly because we eat so much of them.

Our bodies need x amount of the sodium in salt to contract muscles, to send nerve impulses and to maintain a healthy balance of fluids.

But x + any additional amount of sodium is the gateway to increased risk of heart disease and stroke:  high blood pressure and thickened and stiffened blood vessels that force the heart to work overtime.

Our best course in avoiding hidden sodium is to read nutrition labels and see what the serving size is as well as the daily percentage of salt that serving size delivers—no need to memorize how many mg of the daily optimum amount of salt.

We can shop for products labeled “salt free”, low-sodium” or “no salt added.”

We can avoid condiments such as soy sauce, ketchup, teriyaki sauce and prepared salad dressings.

And we should limit our consumption of processed foods as well as the number of meals we eat out in restaurants.

My Take on hidden salts:   Here’s the scoop on a home-made ground beef patty and a prepared processed one:  The ones I make at home contains 75 mg of sodium in 4 ounces; the prepared patty has 338 mg of sodium; a breaded prepared patty has 597 mg of sodium.

I’ve known that condiments are high in added salt, so I went upstairs and checked condiments in my cupboard.  I put catsup, mustard and dill relish on my hamburgers and was shocked by how much salt I was consuming.  One tablespoon of the three mustards I like contain 5%, 3% and 2% of daily sodium allowance.  One tablespoon of dill relish has 10%; catsup has 7%; a hamburger bun has 8%.  So one of my hamburgers delivers 30% of the salt I should consume in one day.

In my favor, I use a single slice of whole wheat bread instead of a bun, bringing my total salt intake to “only” 25%.  Additionally, I make my hamburgers small and eat them infrequently.

Source: Harvard Medical School Healthbeat, January 5, 2013   And others


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