Sodium is a vital mineral for life and also a key element used in food processing. Because of its usefulness in food manufacturing, the average sodium intake in the US is much higher than is healthy; we average about 3400 milligrams (mg) daily and should be limiting our intake to no more than 1500 mg.
When we think of sodium we link it to salt. For those of you proudly saying, “I never add salt to my food,” know that about 75 percent of all the sodium you consume is in food not prepared at home.
Breads and rolls, crazy as it seems since they don’t taste salty, are the single biggest source of sodium in the typical diet. Oh sure, that English muffin at about 500 mg is just an occasional food, but a conventional piece of bread/toast supplies about 250 mg/slice. No need to drop your daily bread but realize how quickly sodium sneaks up on you.
A recent study at the University of Minnesota was conducted to determine if you could alter the acceptance of a single food (tomato juice) when you lowered its sodium content without changing the sodium in the rest of the diet. The good news was that with repeated exposure, the test subjects liked the lower sodium item at the end of the study. OK, perhaps not earth shattering, we like whatever we habitually eat, but there’s a bigger lesson here.
Healthy eating takes practice! For my student who just reported his single’s day sodium intake was 10,000 mg, I’m guessing a whole lot of practicing will have to go on to be well,
PS October 24th is National Good and Plenty Day – my dad’s favorite candy. I will be celebrating!