June Wellness Challenge
To Salt or Not to Salt?
Americans consume an average of 3,400 mg of sodium each day. This is well above the recommended 2,300 mg per day. Evidence shows reducing sodium intake reduces blood pressure and the risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke. Sodium is typically consumed through table salt, processed, and restaurant foods.
The HealthSmart Wellness Team wants to challenge you to monitor the amount of sodium you consume while also measuring your blood pressure levels. Will reducing your sodium intake lower your blood pressure? Let's find out!
Sodium is essential in small amounts
Your body needs some sodium to function properly because it:
- Helps maintain the right balance of fluids in your body
- Helps transmit nerve impulses
- Influences the contraction and relaxation of muscles
However, excess sodium amounts in the diet can:
- Increase blood pressure in some people.
- Cause a serious build-up of fluid in people with congestive heart failure, cirrhosis, or kidney disease.
Cutting back on sodium
Just one teaspoon of table salt has 2,325 mg of sodium, however, more than 75% of the sodium Americans consume comes from processed and restaurant foods — not the salt shaker.
Use Nutrition Facts labels to investigate the amount of sodium in the foods you eat. Taste alone isn’t always a good indicator. The following ingredients include salt or sodium-containing compounds:
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Disodium phosphate
- Sodium alginate
- Sodium nitrate or nitrite
Test your knowledge by taking the WebMD Quiz: Test Your Salt Smarts.
Visit the Mayo Clinic to learn how to tame your salt habit now.
- Fill out your name, email and office location at the top of your Challenge Log [PDF]
- Track your weekly blood pressure results easily by measuring it at a local grocery store or pharmacy.
- Track your sodium intake daily by reading food labels or using a food database.
- Check off 1 salt shaker each time you consume 400 mg of sodium.
- If you exceed 2,400 mg, check off the last shaker in red indicating you exceeded your daily allowance.
- The goal is to not check off any red shakers during the challenge, while also observing changes in blood pressure.
- Please submit your completed Sodium Log Calendar by July 5 to the Wellness Coach Team by email or fax (listed below).
Wellness Team Contact Information
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact:
- Michael DiFilippo, MS, RD, LD
- Wellness Coordinator
- Registered Dietitian
- Email: email@example.com
- Fax: (907) 297-7365
- Phone: (877) 517-6370 and select the wellness program option
- Direct: (907) 297-7350