I recently came across this article in Self Magazine that references an article from the New England Journal of Medicine. According to the article, reducing your salt intake by just 3g (1200 mg of sodium) can have tremendous effects on your health. To quote, it could “reduce the annual number of new cases of coronary heart disease (CHD) by 60,000 to 120,000, stroke by 32,000 to 66,000, and myocardial infarction by 54,000 to 99,000 and reduce the annual number of deaths from any cause by 44,000 to 92,000.” That’s some crazy stuff.
Reading this, you may think, OK I’ll stop using extra table salt on my food. Well that is not enough. In fact, it’s hardly anything. Self Magazine states table salt contributes only 11 percent of the sodium we eat, but 77% of our daily sodium intakes come from processed and prepared foods.
One great example they gave was soups. I was once a culprit of this myself. You’d think it’d be a great healthy choice at lunch time right? Wrong. Have you checked out the sodium levels on these cans. Its tremendous. Getting soup take-out? Panera’s Low-Fat Chicken Noodle soup packs a huge 1,110 mg of sodium per serving!
Other examples they gave are Deli meats. Hillshire Farms Deli Select Turkey Breast has 620 mg for 6 slices. Dunkin Donuts Egg and Cheese on a Bagel contains 1,120 mg of sodium. Subway’s Roast Beef Sub Sandwich totals 1,800 mg and a half cup of Light n’ Lively Lowfat cottage cheese gets you at 420 mg.
So what does this tell you? Know what you’re eating. That means cooking meals yourself and making sure you note your ingredients and check the labels. Or being smart about your take-out food. Listen, even I can’t make a home cooked meal every night… and then pack the leftovers for lunch the next day. Some days, you have to do take-out. In fact, I make a point of going out on Fridays and Saturdays. But when I do, I make sure the rest of my meals that day are healthy. And I NEVER add table salt.