Sodium swap challenge presented by American Heart Association

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The AHA and the American Stroke Association recommend a daily intake of 1,500 milligrams of sodium -- the average is 3,400 mg.Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide, and high blood pressure is a major risk factor. For the estimated one in three Americans  who will develop high blood pressure, a high-sodium diet may be to blame. In some people, sodium increases blood pressure because it holds excess fluid in the body, creating an added burden on the heart. Too much sodium in the diet may also have other harmful health effects, including increased risk for stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer and kidney disease.

97 percent of children and adolescents eat too much salt, putting them at greater risk for cardiovascular diseases as they get older.  

The American Heart Association wants to help all Americans lower the amount of sodium they consume.

It's inviting the public to particpate in the Sodium Swap Challenge:

Week 1: Watch your bread consumption. One slice can have 230 mg sodium and a serving of turkey cold cuts can contain as much as 1,050 mg. Check labels and track your consumption.

Week 2: Read labels for pizza and poultry. Eat less cheese on pizza and add veggies. Eat fresh, skinless poultry that is not enhanced with sodium solution.

Week 3: Check up on soups and sandwiches. One cup of chicken noodle or tomato soup may have up to 940 mg. Try lower sodium varieties of soups; make sandwiches with lower sodium meats and cheeses.

Finally, control portion sizes and look for the Heart-Check mark on products in the store, www.heartcheckmark.org

For more health news, go to www.dailypress.com/health

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