Aliah Davis, of The Get Fit Diva, is joining the Sodium Blog as a Guest Blogger today.
It is no big secret that heart health is extremely important to me and my family. Making healthy food choices and keeping active are two choices that are essential. Growing up, there were many family members that suffered from high blood pressure so I was hyperaware that I need to watch my sodium intake. African-Americans are at higher risk of developing health problems related to salt consumption.
Since I’m on my healthy living journey and trying to lead by example by participating in challenges like #GoRedGetFit, I want to make sure my family reduces the sodium we eat by taking the AHA 21-day ”Less Salt, More Sweat” Challenge.
About three ¬quarters of the sodium in Americans’ diets comes from processed, prepackaged, and restaurant foods. But not all processed food has too much sodium - it's important to check labels and watch for the salty 6.*
I try to make as many fresh and homemade meals as possible. I am a habitual label-checker but it’s time consuming. But as a working mom and sports mom, it can be hard especially if you are watching sodium intake. There are excessive hidden amounts of salt in store-brought, processed, prepackaged AND restaurant food. What is a busy mom to do?
If you prepare most of your food at home, you can reduce the salt in you and your family’s diet with these tips from American Heart Association (and they aren’t that difficult to get started).
Here are 5 ways my family are going to tackle sodium:
- Checking food labels for “no salt added” and choosing packaged and prepared foods with lower sodium content at the supermarket
- Looking for products with the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check Mark
- Cook our favorite foods by grilling, braising, roasting, searing and sautéing instead of frying
- Use onions, garlics, herbs, and spices in lieu of salt to add flavor
- Incorporate foods with potassium, like sweet potatoes, potatoes, greens, and tomatoes to help counter the effects of sodium and may help lower your blood pressure.
Join me and AHA as we urge the food industry and policymakers to improve the foods offered in the grocery aisle and on restaurant menus. Warning labels on restaurant foods and options and information for consumers is one way to do this. These tips will help our families but change must happen to help all families. #BreakUpWithSalt and urge food industry and policy makers to reduce sodium in the food supply.
How do you reduce you and your family’s salt intake? Share in the comments!
*Source: Mattes, R. D., and D. Donnelly. 1991. Relative contributions of dietary sodium sources. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 10(4):383¬393.
The views,opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of The American Heart Association | American Stroke Association. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them. The American Heart Association’s blog is not intended to provide medical advice or treatment. Only your healthcare provider can provide that. The American Heart Association recommends that you consult your healthcare provider regarding your personal health matters. If you think you are having a heart attack, stroke or another emergency, please call 911 immediately.