FDA & Sodium Consumption in the U.S.
According to a recent statement issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. adults are consuming several times the amount of sodium than is considered healthy. As a result, the rate of hypertension is on the rise, with nearly 75 million people over the age of 20 being affected by high blood pressure. Having high blood pressure can increase the risk for heart attacks, stroke, heart failure and kidney failure.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a report concluding that national action is "imperative" to reduce the sodium content of foods. The goal is to make "significant progress" toward reducing the risk hypertension and major cardiovascular events for all Americans.
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As a consumer, there are many ways to lower your sodium intake. Aside from leaving the salt shaker off of the table and foregoing the salty peanuts, it is a good idea to choose low-sodium packaged foods and to ask for low-sodium options at the grocery store and at restaurants. Choosing fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks instead of the chips and nuts will also help reduce sodium intake. Eating foods that are high in potassium, such as leafy greens and fruits from vines, can help because potassium blunts the effects of sodium on blood pressure.
While the human body does need moderate levels of sodium to function properly, Americans tend to consume way more than is good for us. As stated, too much sodium can lead to hypertension, kidney failure, stroke and heart attacks. By paying special attention to added salt in foods and choosing healthier, salt-free options, we can avoid the health risks associated with a high-sodium diet.