Common Foods Loaded with Excess Sodium

salty6

The Salty Six

 

 

Eating too many salty foods can create all sorts of health problems, including high blood pressure. But did you know a lot of common foods are packed with excess sodium? It’s not just the french fries and potato chips you need to be careful with.

That’s why the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is increasing awareness of sodium and the “Salty Six” – common foods that may be loaded with excess sodium that can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Sodium overload is a major health problem in the United States. The average American consumes about 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day – more than twice the 1,500 milligrams recommended by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. That’s in large part because of our food supply; more than 75 percent of our sodium consumption comes from processed and restaurant foods.

heart-checkBe sure to keep in mind that different brands and restaurant preparation of the same foods may have different sodium levels. The American Heart Association’s Heart-Check mark—whether in the grocery store or restaurant helps shoppers see through the clutter on grocery store shelves to find foods that help you build a heart-healthy diet.

Sodium doesn’t just affect your heart health, but your physical appearance as well. Excess sodium consumption may make your face feel puffy, give you bags under your eyes, increase swelling in your fingers and make your jeans look, and feel, tighter. In fact, from an American Heart Association/American Stroke Association consumer poll, 75 percent of respondents stated that their pants feeling too tight is their least favorite effect of bloating which may be associated with excess sodium consumption.

As you gear up for your next grocery store run or order from the menu, keep the Salty Six in mind. All you need to do to make a heart-healthy choice is to look for the Heart-Check mark. Another helpful tool is the Nutrition Facts label on the package and calorie labeling in restaurants, which together with the Heart-Check mark helps you make wise choices for the foods you and your family eat. Make the effort to choose products that contain less sodium. It’s worth it!

Here’s a quick look at the Salty Six, the top sources for sodium in today’s diet (download the infographic as a pdf)

Article from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Salty-Six_UCM_446090_Article.jsp

World Salt Awareness Week

How to understand and use the US Nutritional F...

How to understand and use the US Nutritional Fact Label (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke—

Everyone can:

Know your recommended limits for daily sodium intake.

Choose to purchase healthy options and talk with your grocer or favorite restaurant about stocking lower sodium food choices.

Read the Nutrition Facts label while shopping to find the lowest sodium options of your favorite foods.

Eat a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and frozen fruits and vegetables without sauce.

Limit processed foods high in sodium.

When eating out, request lower sodium options.

Support initiatives that reduce sodium in foods in cafeterias and vending machines.

More at CDC – DHDSP – Salt: What You Can Do.

7 Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure Without Medication

Blood pressure check

Blood pressure check (Photo credit: Army Medicine)

Whether you’re among the 1 in 3 Americans with high blood pressure or have so far avoided this deadly disease, these tips will help prevent becoming a statistic.

Heart disease and stroke rank among the top five causes of death in the U.S. They’re also both commonly caused by one condition: hypertension.

One in three Americans suffer from this often symptom-less condition, also known as high blood pressure and the silent killer.

“You can have it for years without knowing it,” say the National Institutes of Health. “During this time, though, HBP can damage your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and other parts of your body.”

The ideal blood pressure reading is generally 120/80, with higher readings considered pre-hypertension or, if over 140/90, hypertension.

If you don’t know what your blood pressure is, step one is finding out by checking with your doctor. In the long run, that visit will cost less than letting the problem remain undiagnosed – and uncontrolled. Even if you require medication, it’s cheaper than the long-term costs and complications of untreated high blood pressure.

In some cases, high BP can be managed or prevented by low-cost lifestyle changes alone. So in honor of Heart Month, we’ve rounded them up…

  • Pass the salt. Limiting sodium helps control high blood pressure in those who have it and helps prevent it in those who don’t. According to government dietary guidelines, adults should limit their daily sodium intake to 2,300 mg. But for people with hypertension, diabetes, or chronic liver disease; children; adults over age 50; and African-Americans – about half the U.S. – the limit is 1,500 mg. Beware especially of processed and packaged foods, fast foods, and canned foods – all common sources of excessive salt.
  • Eat enough potassium. This mineral helps lower blood pressure. The recommended daily intake for adults is 4,700 mg. Bananas average 451 mg – foods with even more include cantaloupe, avocados, dates, raisins, dried apricots, prune juice, baked potatoes (with the skins), yogurt, sardines, and flounder. Check out the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s downloadable list of Sources of Dietary Potassium for more.
  • Change your diet. The DASH diet, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, helps fight high blood pressure by emphasizing fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein. U.S. News & World Report also recently ranked it the No. 1 best diet overall, No. 1 best diet for healthy eating, and even the No. 1 best diabetes diet. Check out Dr. Oz’s recent segment about the diet to learn more.
  • Watch your weight. Blood pressure tends to increase as weight does. Last year, a University of Illinois study found that even among hearty college students, a weight gain of as little as 1.5 pounds was enough to raise BP. Fortunately, it’s also true that BP tends to drop as weight does.
  • Relax. The connection between stress and high blood pressure isn’t fully understood. But researchers do know that (1) stressful situations can cause temporary BP spikes and (2) stress management and stress-lowering activities can help lower BP, according to the Mayo Clinic. Getting enough sleep, deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and exercise can help reduce stress. Check out 7 Cheap Ways to Relieve Stress for more ideas.
  • Avoid alcohol. According to the Mayo Clinic, not only does too much alcohol raise blood pressure, repeated excess drinking can lead to long-term BP increases. Women should limit themselves to one drink, men to two.
  • Indulge in dark chocolate instead. An Australian study published last year found that a daily dose of dark chocolate or other cocoa products rich in natural compounds called “flavanols” helped to lower blood pressure. Just don’t overdo it and gain weight.

From MoneyTalksNews

Salt and Battery

Sorry for the pun-ny title again!  Like our new diet, this post is really low/no salt.  It’s just a followup on our Monday car adventures and has nothing to do with heart stuff so feel free to stop here.


My plan had been to get contact AAA on Tuesday for either a jumpstart or tow but it was one of those icy/cold/freezing rain days so I put it off until Wednesday.  I didn’t really have anywhere to go, anyway.

Wednesday morning, I tried my car again, just in case.  Nothing.  I tried DH’s car, too.  If his worked, I might follow the tow truck and use that.  Nothing for his, either.  It hadn’t been driven since it came home from the ER.  <sigh>

I used my AAA app to contact them and sat in the car to wait.  I didn’t want to rile Mimi up any more than necessary. Joe, the Advanced Automotive driver dispatched by AAA called DH about 15 minutes later to say that he was about 2 minutes away.  I’m not sure why he didn’t call me, though.

He took a look under the hood and asked me the usual questions if I’d left the lights on (DUH), had been listening to the car radio while waiting, etc.  I have way too much experience from living in Milwaukee to run down a battery like that.

He gave it a short boost and the car started.  Hooray!  He asked me to turn it off and start it again.  Nothing.  Another jump and another start.  He checked the alternator.  That was fine.

He had three options: tow the car to a mechanic, get a jump start and drive to a mechanic or he could replace the battery for $125.  A no-brainer, I chose replace the battery.  He said it would be about 30 minutes, so I went back inside.

After about 10 minutes, he knocked on the door – and riled up the dog, just what I was trying to avoid – and said he’d never replaced the battery on a Cruiser.  To do so, he’d have to remove the air filter and several hoses.

I went out and took a look.  The hoses looked fairly important so I told him I’d go with the second option – jumpstart and drive to the mechanic. I was very impressed with his honesty.

I finally got to Fair Oaks Chantilly Chrysler without incident, checked in and hunkered down with my iPad and coffee.  90 minutes later, they told me everything had checked out and they had a new battery.  Their’s was only $120 – unfortunately, all the other electrical checking was another $175 😦  Still worth it to have a car that starts.

A quick stop at Walmart for essential dog food and home to find DH napping.  Time for a nap myself!