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Stroke and Sodium – What to do about it

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Stroke and Sodium – What to do about it

This healthcare provider is on the right track. A healthy lifestyle can prevent the factors that cause stroke. (Did you know? May is American Stroke Month.)

Most people know that too much sodium can increase your risk of high blood pressure, but did you know that it can increase your risk for stroke too? That’s right.

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And, since we know that more than 70% of the sodium we eat comes from processed, prepackaged, and restaurant foods, there are several ways to keep sodium in check. In that spirit, here are 9 tips for eating less sodium during stroke month. You may recognize these from our 2017 #BreakUpWithSodium Hackathon and our 2018 Outsmart Eating Out Contest!

When it comes to processed foods…

  1. Meet your food halfway. Keltcie Delamar, winner of the 2017 #BreakUpWithSalt contest, said that “when preparing processed foods at home, divide portions in half and add an equal amount of cooked veggies. It lessens the sodium and multiplies the vegetables.”
  2. Freshen it up! “Use fresh herbs to add delicious flavor and aroma to low-sodium and no-salt-added processed foods. Many herbs can be easily and affordably grown at home in a pot or planter box” suggested Catherine Callahan, winner of the 2017 #BreakUpWithSalt contest.
  3. Easy does it. Anne-Marie Calderone, winner of the 2017 #BreakUpWithSalt contest, advised to “gradually switch to lower-sodium options to get used to the taste over time. For example, move to reduced sodium, then low-sodium, then no-salt-added processed foods.”

At a restaurant…

  1. We aren’t kidding around: order like a kid! “When child and adult menus have similar items, opt for the kid’s size to get a smaller portion. Order a small salad with vinaigrette or a lemon wedge to complement your meal” said Donna Bates, winner of our 2018 Outsmart Eating Out contest.
  2. Be stealthy to get healthy! Michelle Duke (winner of the 2017 #BreakUpWithSalt contest) told us that “restaurants and foodservice can make small, stealthy changes that diners won’t notice, such as switching to lower sodium soup bases and canned ingredients.”
  3. Make decisions early (before you get hungry). “If you know you’re going to eat out, visit the restaurant’s website in advance, decide what you’ll order and stick to your decision. Spotting the healthier options are even easier now that all chain restaurants provide calorie count on their menus access to detailed nutrition information” advised John Katic, winner of our 2018 Outsmart Eating Out contest.
  4. Put the lime in the… “When eating out, ask for extra lemon or lime, no salt added, and seeds for seasoning (such as sesame, pumpkin or pine nuts) when possible. You can even keep a small lemon in your purse (just in case)! The juice brings out the natural flavor in foods and can replace dressing” mentioned Leticia Orosco, winner of the 2017 #BreakUpWithSalt contest.
  5. Order before everyone else. “When eating out with a group, order first so you aren’t tempted by what someone else orders. You might even start a healthy ordering trend at your table” recommended Deborah Peck winner of our 2018 Outsmart Eating Out contest
  6. BYOC – bring your own condiments! Eileen Lepionka, who was a winner of the 2017 #BreakUpWithSalt contest, let us know that “before dining out, go to the restaurant’s website to check for nutritional info, and choose the best options in advance. Bring your own low-sodium dressing or condiments with you.”

Anything surprise you? Tell us what you have tried by commenting below!