By: Raritan Bay Medical Center Clinical Nutrition Manager Heather Cunningham, RD, CNSC.

Raritan Bay Medical Center is providing you an essential health tip and the reasons why you should have less sodium in your diet.

Did you know the average American consumes between 4 and 6 grams of sodium per day? According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the major contributors to salt consumption include processed and restaurant foods. Our bodies need approximately 180 to 500 mg of sodium a day to work properly. New recommendations from the American Heart Association suggest that sodium intake not exceed 1500 mg per day. They have targeted the “Salty Six,” foods that contain the most sodium per serving. The “Salty Six” include breads and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soup and sandwiches. Fortunately, because of our increased salt awareness, there are many lower-sodium products available.

 

Why is eating less salt important? Consuming excessive amounts of sodium can not only increase your risk of heart disease and stroke, but also make you feel bloated and swollen. Remember, for a food item to be labeled as “low sodium” it must contain less than 140 mg of sodium per serving, so be a critical label reader! Also, fruits and vegetables are low in sodium, so include more of them in your diet and naturally eat low sodium.

To learn more about weight loss from the Institute for Weight Loss at Raritan Bay Medical Center call 1.855.TIME.4.ME or visit their weight loss surgical website here.