Local News

Too Much Salt Can Lead To Heart Problems

Posted June 29, 2006

— Too much fat in people's diet and too little exercise have been in the spotlight for the role they play in the problem of heart disease in the country, but many tend to ignore the issue of too much sodium.

The problem is most people have no idea how much salt is in the food they eat.

"The new range is 1,500 to 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day," said registered dietician Natalie Newell.

Health experts suggest 1,500 milligrams if you're over 50 years of age, have hypertension, heart disease, diabetes or kidney disease and no more than 2,400 milligrams for everyone else, which is about one teaspoon a day.

Newell said sodium is used to preserve prepackaged meats. She said one prepackaged sausage can have 890 milligrams of sodium. She also said string beans are good for you, but check the salt content.

"If you're going to have to have canned vegetables, drain the juice off, drain the actual vegetable off and then use your own water to cook them in," Newell said.

Newell said that will cut out half the sodium. You can easily hit your daily sodium limit in one meal. A hot dog with one teaspooon of ketchup, 20 potato chips and a half cup of baked beans is 2,300 milligrams of sodium. You should also look out for things like salad dressing and soy sauce, which are high sources of sodium.

Newell said treat your taste for salt like an addiction.

"If you'll start to decrease the amount of sodium that you're consuming, eventually your palate will get used to not having so much salt," she said.


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