A new scientific statement has identified sensitivity to salt as an emerging cardiovascular risk factor.
Keeping sodium in check is just one part of the overall heart-healthy eating pattern the American Heart Association recommends.
When it comes to sodium, many of us could benefit from eating less salt. The average sodium intake for Americans is nearly 3,500 mg/day - more than twice the upper limit the American Heart Association recommends for ideal heart health. Even if you don’t have high blood pressure, eating less sodium can help blunt the rise in blood pressure that occurs with age. This is important because 90 percent of all American adults are expected to develop high blood pressure in their lifetime.
Does salt impact some people differently than others?
This new scientific statement explains that some factors may influence how your blood pressure changes when you eat salt.
Factors that impact salt’s effect on blood pressure may include:
- Some clinical conditions (like diabetes, hypertension, or chronic kidney disease)
Right now, scientists say that testing for salt sensitivity is not practical. So, what can you do now to blunt the impact of salt on your blood pressure?
Here are seven tips to get you started:
- Take the sodium pledge. You deserve the right to control how much sodium is in your food. Join our campaign to keep sneaky salt out of our food.
- Watch for the salty six. The top six food categories that contribute to the sodium Americans eat are breads and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soup, and sandwiches.
- Read food nutrition labels. Different brands and restaurant versions of the same foods may have different sodium levels. Some foods come in versions with less sodium, too. Compare labels and choose the product with the lowest amount of sodium you can find in your store.
- Cook with healthy recipes in mind. Not sure where to start? Check out our favorite recipes and our new recipe center.
- Be choosy at restaurants. Specify how you want your food prepared. Ask for your dish to be prepared without extra salt. Ask for information about the sodium content of menu items.
- Appreciate new, interesting flavors. As you take steps to reduce sodium gradually, you’ll actually start to appreciate foods for their true flavor. Over time, your taste buds will adjust to less salt and you’ll look forward to how food really tastes!
- Track your sodium. An easy way to keep tabs on how much sodium you eat is by using our sodium tracker. Jot down what you eat — that blueberry muffin for breakfast, or the garlic bread with last night’s spaghetti — and the accompanying sodium stats.
Read more about the new study. (Link opens in a new window.)
What motivates you to eat less salt? Let us know in the comments!