Tips For Reducing Sodium From Newark Beth Israel Medical Center

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NEWARK—Fewer than 10 percent of U.S. adults limit their daily sodium intake to recommended levels, according to a new report published in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The report found that most sodium in the American diet comes from processed grains such as pizza and cookies, as well as meats.

“An estimated 77 percent of dietary sodium comes from processed and restaurant foods,” reports Barbara Mintz, MS, RD, Clinical Nutrition Manager at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. “Many of these foods, such as breads and cookies, may not even taste salty so that the consumer is not expecting a high sodium count.”

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According to the report, U.S. adults consume an average of twice the current recommended limit of sodium. Grains provide 36.9 percent of this total, followed by processed meats (27.9 percent). These two categories combined account for almost two-thirds of the daily sodium intake for Americans.

“Sodium is found so frequently in our food that consumers may not even realize that certain foods are high in sodium content,” says Ms. Mintz. “This makes it very challenging to stay within recommended limits.”

The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that people consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. Persons with high blood pressure and all middle-aged and older adults should limit intake to 1500 mg per day. Over-consumption of sodium can have negative health effects, including an increase in high blood pressure.

Tips for Reducing Sodium in Your Diet

  • Buy fresh, plain frozen, or canned “with no salt added” vegetables.
  • Use fresh poultry, fish, and lean meat, rather than canned or processed types.
  • Use herbs, spices, and salt-free seasoning blends in cooking and at the table.
  • Cook rice, pasta, and hot cereals without salt. Cut back on instant or flavored rice, pasta, and cereal mixes, which usually have added salt.
  • Choose “convenience” foods that are lower in sodium. Cut back on frozen dinners, pizza, packaged mixes, canned soups or broths, and salad dressings.
  • Rinse canned foods, such as tuna, to remove some sodium.
  • When available, buy low- or reduced-sodium, or no-salt-added versions of foods.
  • Choose ready-to-eat breakfast cereals that are lower in sodium.

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