February 21, 2013

Assault on Salt

28 Days of Heart

Day 21

Heart Health is a LIFEstyle NOT a passing FAD!

I am taking names and cleaning house today in the assault on salt, or more specifically sodium, on behalf of our hearts. This is SERIOUS business folks as we, Americans, do NOT fully appreciate the negative impact sodium has on our heart health.

#TheHeartTruths about sodium and high blood pressure:

  1. As sodium intake increases so does one’s blood pressure
  2. When sodium intake is reduces, blood pressure begins to decrease within weeks
  3. Those individuals around the world that consume less sodium do not experience an increase in their blood pressure as they age that we see in most western cultures

So, are sodium and salt the same thing? NO! Sodium Chloride is the chemical name for salt and 90% of the sodium we consume is in the form of salt.

#TheHeartTruths about dietary sodium and our food supply:

  1. We NEED a small amount of sodium to keep our bodies well functioning. [Key Word: SMALL]
  2. The truth is we only need 250-500mg of sodium per day despite the fact that the dietary guidelines allow for up to 2500mg/day with some exceptions for those older than 51 years of age and those of any age, including children who are African Americans, those with know high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, or diabetes
  3. The individuals listed in #2 account for 50% of the American population and the majority of American adults: SHOCKING!
  4. Average daily sodium intake is 3400mg/day
  5. Most of our dietary sodium comes from processed foods and foods prepared in restaurants including breads and rolls, cold cuts from the deli or packaged cold cuts, pizza, fresh and processed poultry, soups, cheese, and snack foods

Great information, Steph, but seriously, what does this mean on a day to day basis? My heart was failing this time 5 years ago and sodium was driving my heart failure causing me to retain an enormous amount of fluid which made my heart to work harder than it was capable of at that time.

What did we as a family do?

  1. Declared an all out war on sodium and committed to less then a teaspoon of salt in my diet
  2. Went to our local Whole Foods who graciously printed a list of every single item they carried in their store that was low-to-no sodium
  3. We went online and found a no sodium chicken broth called HerbOx
  4. We discovered that Tillamook cheese out of Vermont [I think] produced the lowest sodium cheeses
  5. We studied the Boar’s Head nutritional guide to find the lowest sodium deli ham available and asked them to divide our order into the recommended serving sizes
  6. We could NOT accept dinners from those who offered which was difficult given that I didn’t have the strength to cook for our family
  7. I knew exactly what I could eat anywhere we might go for a bite to eat, including just how much salad dressing I could put on my salads
  8. Water became the drink of choice; soda got tossed out the window
  9. No salt was EVER added when cooking homemade meals
  10. Low-to-no sodium cookbooks became my friend

If there was just one dietary recommendation that I could make to you regarding your heart, it would without a doubt be take your sodium intake down to no more than 500mg/day PERIOD, END of STORY.

Please visit our FaceBook Fan Page for Heart Healthy [low sodium, low fat] recipes and take your heart into your hands.

PS Thanks to Boar’s Head for their commitment to the Assault of Salt; their website is an INCREDIBLE resource for recipes, so USE it!

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