FORT LEE, Va. — Most of us know eating too much sodium is not good for us. It can increase the risk for high blood pressure and lead to a variety of diseases. Nearly one in three adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure and almost as many have pre-hypertension or slightly elevated blood pressure.
Eating less sodium and more potassium-rich foods can help combat the risks of high blood pressure.Hidden sodium
Sodium is found in many of the processed and prepared foods we eat daily — soups, canned vegetables, lunch meats and frozen meals. Manufacturers also use sodium compounds to preserve food and improve its taste and texture.
A new report from the Institute of Medicine recommends that sodium content of foods be reduced to help decrease the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. The report urges the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to set maximum sodium levels for different foods so, over time, average consumption would drop by about half a teaspoon. As the government moves forward in addressing the issue of sodium in food you buy, there are many things you can do to eat less sodium.
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Kick the habit
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends you get no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day. Those with high blood pressure, African-Americans and people who are middle-aged or older should get no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium each day.
Tips for eating less salt
When you’re choosing packaged foods, check the sodium content on the nutrition label. Use the percent daily value to help limit your sodium intake — 5 percent or less is low and 20 percent or more is high.
Eat more fresh foods and fewer processed foods. Fresh meat is usually lower in sodium than lunch meat, bacon, hot dogs, sausage and ham. When possible, buy fresh and frozen poultry or meat that hasn’t been injected with a sodium-containing solution.
Eat more potassium
Adults should try to consume 4,700 milligrams of potassium each day. On average, children need 3,000 to 4,500 milligrams of potassium each day, depending on their age.
Foods high in potassium include the following items, measured in milligrams of potassium:
Apricots, dried, 10 halves, 407
Avocados, raw, 1 ounce, 180
Bananas, raw, 1 cup, 594
Beets, cooked, 1 cup, 519
Brussels sprouts, cooked, 1 cup, 504
Cantaloupe, 1 cup, 494
Dates, dry, 5 dates, 271
Figs, dry, 2 figs, 271
Kiwi fruit, raw, 1 medium, 252
Lima beans, 1 cup, 955
Melons, honeydew, 1 cup, 461
Milk, fat-free or skim, 1 cup, 407
Nectarines, 1 nectarine, 288
Orange juice, 1 cup, 496
Oranges, 1 orange, 237
Pears, fresh, 1 pear, 208
Potatoes, baked, with skin, 1 potato, 1,081
Prunes, dried, 1 cup, 828
Raisins, 1 cup, 1,089
Spinach, cooked, 1 cup, 839
Tomato products, canned, sauce, 1 cup, 909
Winter squash, 1 cup, 896
Yogurt plain, skim, 8 ounces, 579
For more information about making healthy choices, visit Ask the Dietitian at www.commissaries.com.
Creamed Potatoes with Onions
12 cleaned new potatoes, unpeeled
2 teaspoons salt, divided
2 cups green onions, diced
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup milk
- 1. Boil potatoes with 1 teaspoon salt for 10 minutes.