February 1, 2016

Celebrating National Heart Month

At MANNA, we are dedicated to improving health and this month we are using our platform to promote heart health. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. More than 67 million Americans have high blood pressure. Individuals with high blood pressure are 4 times more likely to die from a stroke and 3 times more likely to die from heart disease, compared to those with normal blood pressure. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend reducing sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day. This recommended reduction in sodium intake will help improve the population’s blood pressure and heart health.

Tips to Help Prevent & Lower High Blood Pressure:

  • Aim to eat no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day
  • Reducing daily intake to 1,500 mg is desirable, because it can lower blood pressure even further
  • Reducing sodium intake by 1,000 mg per day can benefit blood pressure

So what does 2,300 mg of sodium look like? About 1 teaspoon. 1 teaspoon of salt = 2,300 mg of Sodium, which does not look like a lot, but it is more than enough sodium than our bodies need in one day.

Most of the sodium in our diet comes from pre-packaged and processed foods. So, when food shopping and trying to be heart hearty, look for these sodium related terms on food packages to better help understand how much products contain.

  • Sodium/Salt Free – Less than 5 milligrams of sodium per serving
  • Very Low Sodium – 35 milligrams or less per serving
  • Low Sodium – 140 milligrams or less per serving
  • Reduced/Less Sodium – ~25% less sodium per serving than the usual
  • Light in Sodium – Reduced by at least 50% per serving

Nutrition food labels also contain a measurement called a Percent Daily Value (%DV). Use the %DV on the food labels to compare products. The %DV tells you whether a food contributes a little or a lot to your total daily diet. For instance, 5% DV (120 mg) or less of sodium per serving is LOW. 20% DV (480 mg) or more of sodium per serving is HIGH.


Tips to Shake the Salt Habit:

  • Don’t use salt during cooking
  • Learn to use spices and herbs to enhance the natural flavor of food
  • Don’t salt food before you taste it; enjoy the natural taste of food
  • Take the salt shaker off the table
  • Choose lower-sodium foods or low-sodium versions of your favorites

Overall, it is best to choose foods with Less Sodium and prepare foods with little or no salt. Lower salt intake means lower blood pressure, and lower blood pressure means a healthy heart!

Source – American Heart Association www.heart.org