About 90 percent of Americans eat more salt/sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet. Moreover, 65 percent of consumers are concerned about their sodium intake, yet only 29 percent of consumers offer that they regularly check the sodium content of food.
World Salt Awareness Week was started by the World Action on Salt and Health (WASH) and the dedicated week receives widespread support from numerous countries around the world to highlight the importance of reducing sodium intake in all populations throughout the world. The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is committed to helping consumers lower their sodium intake as a means to prevent heart disease and stroke, as well as improve their overall health.
Raising consumer awareness and encouraging them to reduce the amount of sodium they consume is one part of the equation. Unfortunately, more than 75 percent of consumed sodium comes from processed foods. The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is also actively encouraging manufacturers, food processors and restaurants to reduce the amount of sodium in the food supply and advocating for healthier foods to be readily available and accessible to consumers.
It is estimated that if Americans cut their average sodium intake by more than half – to an average of 1,500 mg a day- there would be a nearly 26 percent decrease in high blood pressure and a savings of more than $26 billion in healthcare costs in just over a year. Sodium is an acquired taste; to help consumers guide themselves to living a heart-healthy lifestyle, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association recommends foods with little or no salt.
“Reducing sodium intake in your diet is one of the most important things you can do to help you live a longer, healthier life,” Gordon Tomaselli, M.D. and President of the American Heart Association commented. “The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is hard at work to encourage manufacturers to reduce the amount of sodium in the food supply, advocating for healthier foods to be easily accessible and providing consumers educational tools and resources to help them make better decisions about food choices.”
World Salt Awareness Week is a key time for consumers to jumpstart their own diet plan to live a low-sodium lifestyle and to demand that lower sodium products be made available.
By heeding the following tips from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, individuals will reap the benefits in the long run by reducing their overall sodium intake which, in turn, will help lower blood pressure levels, risk of stroke and heart disease.
– Read the Nutrition Facts label to compare and find foods that are lower in sodium
– Choose fresh fruits and vegetables when possible
– Limit the amount of processed foods you eat and limit your portion size
– Avoid adding salt when cooking and/or eating, use fresh herbs instead
– Specify how you want your food prepared when dining out. Ask for your dish to be prepared without salt
– Try to choose foods with potassium. They counter the effects of sodium and may help lower your blood pressure
For additional American Heart Association/American Stroke Association sodium recommendations, complimentary tools and resources, visit www.heart.org/sodium .
About the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Sodium Reduction Efforts
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is committed to improving cardiovascular health of the whole population as part of its 2020 impact goal. Successful sodium reduction is just one of the contributing factors to this goal and requires action and partnership at all levels—individuals, healthcare providers, professional organizations, public health agencies, governments, and industry. The association urges a renewed and intensive focus on this critically important public health issue. The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is actively working toward a population-wide reduction in sodium intake. For more information on the association’s sodium reduction efforts, visit www.heart.org/sodium