In last week's report published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Americans of nearly every demographic are consuming more sodium than what is needed for a healthy diet.
According to the CDC, 90 percent of children and 89 percent of adults consume too much sodium. The CDC's research showed that 86 percent of Americans with high blood pressure are also consuming too much sodium.
“Sodium reduction is a key part of preventing heart disease and stroke,” said Sandra Jackson, an author of the report and an epidemiologist in CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. “Reducing sodium is an achievable and effective strategy to improve heart health for everyone, but it’s going to take all of us working together to make it possible.”
Sodium is a key ingredient in salt, but salt shakers are not the primary way Americans get their sodium.
Much of the culprit is from restaurants and processed foods where Americans have little say in the amount of sodium in food. Nearly 75 percent of the sodium Americans consume is from prepared food for them.
"About one in three U.S. adults – or about 70 million people – already have high blood pressure and only half have it under control," the CDC said in its report. :Heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases kill more than 800,000 Americans each year and cost nearly $320 billion a year in health care and lost productivity."
The CDC recommends that most people should consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day, while those with hypertension try to reduce their intake to 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day.
Here are some suggestions from the CDC on how to reduce sodium intake:
- Buy fresh, frozen (no sauce) or no-salt- added canned vegetables.
- Use fresh poultry, fish, pork and lean meat, rather than canned or processed meats.
- When available, buy low-sodium, lower- sodium, reduced-sodium, or no-salt-added versions of products.
- Limit sauces, mixes, and “instant” products, including flavored rice and ready-made pasta.
- Compare Nutrition Facts labels on food packages for percent Daily Value or amount of sodium in milligrams.