Did you know that approximately 1 in 3 adults in the United States has high blood pressure? It’s a serious condition. If your blood pressure remains high over time, it can damage other parts of your body and lead to heart and kidney disease. One-fifth of all Americans who have high blood pressure don’t know they have it, so it’s important to have regular preventive health screenings.
While there are many risk factors for high blood pressure, one of the most important — and easily addressed by dietary changes— is eating unhealthy and sodium-rich foods often. What you may not realize is than 70 percent of the sodium Americans eat doesn’t come from the salt shaker — it comes from packaged (boxed and canned), prepared and restaurant foods.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day of sodium, with a goal of moving toward an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults. Scaling back by 1,000 milligrams a day is even better, and can have a significantly positive effect on your blood pressure and heart health.
If you have high blood pressure, want to take steps to prevent the condition or just want to limit your sodium intake, here are four foods you might want to avoid:
1) Canned soups
Though it might be a “comfort food,” canned soup, including chicken noodle, often contain copious amounts of sodium. A serving, for example, could easily count for more than half of your daily recommended intake of sodium or more. Look for low-sodium soup varieties, or make your own. Don’t forget to read the labels of any canned or boxed foods before you purchase them.
2) French Fries
Yes, they taste amazing, but french fries are a sodium-packed snack or side dish. If you use ketchup, you’ll add even more sodium! Try swapping french fries for unsalted sweet potato fries, or try other types of low-sodium side dishes.
3) Ramen noodles
They’re inexpensive, tasty, and easy to make, but ramen noodles are one of the worst sodium offenders of them all. Try other varieties of noodles that contain less sodium.
An increasingly popular ingredient in everything from breakfast classics to desserts, bacon has taken the country by storm in recent years. Though it might be tasty, bacon is loaded with sodium, not to mention a lot of fat.
You don’t have to completely eliminate these foods from your diet, but consuming them periodically instead of regularly is the key toward a much healthier future.