-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
FRIDAY, Jan. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Americans can dramatically
reduce their daily salt intake by cutting bread, cold cuts and
cured meats from their diet, according to the American Heart
Association/American Stroke Association.
Limiting condiments and reading nutritional labels are other
ways to kick a high-sodium habit, the experts noted in an
association news release. They also said people can change their
palate and enjoy foods with less salt in just 21 days.
The heart and stroke experts are launching a three-week Sodium
Swap Challenge on Jan. 7. The group is calling upon Americans to
identify and track the Salty Six -- the foods in their diet loaded
with extra salt that increase their risk for heart disease and
stroke. The goal is for Americans to limit sodium intake to no more
than 1,500 milligrams each day. Currently, the typical American
consumes more than twice that.
"To get started with the association's challenge, we ask that consumers get familiar with the food labels and nutrition facts for the foods they eat and track their sodium consumption over the first two days to get an idea of how much they are eating, which I'm sure will be surprising to many people," said Rachel Johnson, spokeswoman for the associations and professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont. "Then, over the course of the next three weeks, consumers will use the Salty Six as their guide to help lower their sodium intake."
During the first week of the challenge, Americans are asked to
limit consumption of bread, rolls, cold cuts and cured meats. A
slice of bread can contain more than 200 mg of sodium and one
serving of turkey cold cuts as much as 1,050 mg. It's also
recommended that you check food labels and track sodium consumption
For the second week, Americans are asked to opt for lower-salt
versions of pizza and poultry. The idea is to choose foods with
less cheese or meat and more vegetables. Poultry should also be
skinless and not processed or fried.
Focus on soup and sandwiches during the third week, the
associations said. Soups often contain up to 940 mg of sodium per
serving. Layering meats, cheese and condiments to a sandwich can
add more than 1,500 mg of sodium.
After three weeks, the experts said challenge participants
should notice a difference in how they feel after eating and how
their food tastes.
The American Heart Association provides more information on the
Sodium Swap Challenge.
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