For most of us, this is the day after the election. But the folks at the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association are celebrating National Eating Healthy Day by warning about excess sodium in six common foods.
Controlling sodium intake is important at midlife because too much salt can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. The heart association says the average American consumes about 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day – which is more than twice the recommended amount of 1,500 milligrams.
Much of that extra salt comes from processed foods and from meals eaten in restaurants. The top six offenders, according to the heart association, are:
Breads and rolls. Just one piece of bread can contain 230 milligrams of sodium, about 15 percent of the recommended daily amount. Have a sandwich and the sodium adds up quickly.
Cold cuts and cured meats. Check the nutritional info on the package of sliced turkey or salami that you're picking up for lunch. You might be surprised that these products can contain as much as 1,050 milligrams, the heart association says. Sodium is added to these products as a preservative.
Pizza. The heart association says just one slice can contain up to 760 milligrams of sodium. And who stops at one?
Poultry. Lean grilled chicken isn't a problem, but some packaged chicken products like chicken nuggets can be loaded with sodium. Check nutrition information on the labels.
Soup. If you make it yourself, you can control the amount of sodium in soup. But canned soups can be loaded with sodium. Again, it's important to check the nutrition information on the labels.
Sandwiches. The heart association says sandwiches are bad because they combine many of the above such as bread and processed meats. Even ketchup, mustard or mayo can add sodium.