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Category: General Wellness
To mark National Eating Healthy Day on Nov. 7, the American Heart Association (AHA) released a list of six sodium-rich foods, also known as the "Salty Six," that are commonly found in peoples' diets.
According to the organization, excess levels of salt can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, and a recent study has found that the average American consumes nearly 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day, which is almost two times the recommended 1,500 mg.
One of the the Salty Six, according to the AHA, is bread and rolls. While they're also heavy in carbohydrates, the AHA notes that one slice contains nearly 230 mg of salt, which is almost 15 percent of a person's suggested daily intake.
Deli and cured meats were also a common culprit when it came to excess sodium, and according to the AHA, a pre-packaged turkey can contain up to 1,050 mg of sodium. Another meat that also made the list was chicken. While lean and skinless chicken usually does not have too much salt, other forms of the food, such as chicken nuggets, are loaded with sodium, as 3 ounces of breaded nuggets can contain almost 600 mg.
The source also warned against canned soup and pizza, which can have up to 940 mg and 760 mg of sodium per serving respectively, while sandwiches, which can include numerous items on the list, can deliver the recommended daily 1,500 mg of sodium in just one meal.
Other effects of sodium
Besides doing damage to the heart, excess sodium can also affect people's physical appearance and result in a puffy face, bags under the eyes and finger swelling.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), sodium levels can be found with a lab test, in which blood is usually drawn from the hand or inside the elbow.
Tips for avoiding high sodium food
In order to keep sodium levels low, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDH), recommends using spices and herbs instead of salt to flavor food, and when cooking, people should try to avoid using canned vegetables. Certain ingredients, the source notes, such as nuts, seeds, dried beans, peas and lentils, can also be purchased unsalted, and when eating out at a restaurant, patrons can request to have their meals prepared without salt. Many prepackaged foods are laden with salt so they don't spoil, so the RIDH suggests using fresh food whenever possible.
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