Science Story - October 2008
Tex Med . 2008;104(10):51-52.
By Ken Ortolon
Want to help your patients lower their sodium intake? The American Heart Association (AHA) can help.
AHA has resources available through its Web site to help your patients manage their salt and sodium consumption, including a brochure entitled "Shaking Your Salt Habit: Our Guide to Reducing Sodium to Lower Your Blood Pressure." This brochure provides a checklist for assessing current consumption, identifies high- and low-sodium foods, profiles a wide range of alternative seasonings and the foods they can be used with, gives strategies for dining out, and more.
AHA also has fact sheets entitled "How Do I Read Food Labels?" and "Why Should I Limit Sodium?" that can be downloaded directly from the Web site. All of these resources are available at www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4708 .
AHA recommends limiting sodium intake to no more than 2,300 milligrams per day. That is equal to about one teaspoon of salt or about 2.3 teaspoons of baking soda.
To reduce sodium in the diet, AHA recommends that people:
- Choose fresh, frozen, or canned food items without added salts.
- Select unsalted nuts or seeds, dried beans, peas, and lentils.
- Limit the amount of salty snacks, such as chips and pretzels.
- Avoid adding salt and canned vegetables to homemade dishes.
- Select unsalted, fat-free broths, bouillons, or soups.
- Select fat-free or low-fat milk and low-sodium, low-fat cheeses, as well as low-fat yogurt.
- Specify what they want and how they want it prepared when dining out. Ask for dishes to be prepared without salt.
- Use spices and herbs to enhance the taste of their food.
Ken Ortolon can be reached by telephone at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1392, or (512) 370-1392; by fax at (512) 370-1629; or by email at Ken Ortolon .
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