Cheese, Fries, And Gravy: What Do They Have In Common?

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Besides being delicious together, all three are high in sodium content – something we should take note of, according to a recent study.

Published by the Centers for Disease Control, the study found that almost all Americans are eating too much salt, which raises their risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. Federal dietary guidelines say you should eat no more than 2,300 mg of salt each day, with that number decreasing to 1,500 mg if you’re in a high-risk category.

We know cutting out sodium can be tough, especially since three-fourths of sodium consumed in the U.S. is already in the foods you purchase when you pick them up at the grocery store. Here are some tips that we’ve found helpful for shaking the shaker habit:

  • Check the label. You can’t lower your salt consumption unless you first know how much salt you’re eating. Always remember to check the back of the box when you purchase groceries and to ask for nutritional information when you go out to eat. You might be surprised how much sodium certain items have in them. One serving of spaghetti sauce can contain 20 percent of the recommended daily value. Mamma mia!
  • Spice up your life. They say variety is the spice of life, but for lowering your sodium intake, a variety of spices is just as important. Of course, there’s vinegar and pepper, but you have tried cooking with paprika? What about thyme? The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has a great list of alternative spices and offers suggestions for which foods to use them with.
  • Eat more potassium. Okay, so maybe this doesn’t count as eating less salt! But if you love your snacks as much as we do, you might want to try eating more foods with high quantities of potassium. Foods like bananas and spinach help counteract some of sodium’s effect on your blood pressure, without you having to sacrifice your favorite foods. And according to an industry representative, spinach can even help you muscle up.
  • There’s an app for that. Keeping track of how much salt you’re eating can take a lot of mental math. But don’t worry – a Canadian company called Sodium 101 has a free iPhone app that allows you to track your sodium intake. You can even share your progress on Facebook and Twitter to let everyone know just how healthy you’ve been eating. We just hope your friends don’t get jealous.

For more information on recommended dietary guidelines, check out the USDA website. Do you have a sweet salt-reducing trick? Let us know!

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