A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions shows that most are consuming more than double the recommended level of salt. The study shows that more than two out of three adults are in population groups that should consume a limited amount of sodium. Although senior citizens may not know it, they are in these groups with persons with high blood pressure, blacks, and middle-aged adults who may be more sensitive to the blood pressure raising effects of sodium.
This study is the first to use national data to show that 69.2 percent of the adult population belongs to a specific group that should aim to consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. A diet high in sodium increases the risk of having higher blood pressure, a major cause for heart disease and stroke.
Compliance with sodium intake can be an issue, especially with older people who live alone. My grandmother’s favorite food until the day she died was country ham, so sometimes you just have to reduce salt in other ways. The Mayo Clinic has some good information about how much sodium you need, and ways to cut down on it.
People often believe that salt intake comes from using the salt shaker while eating or cooking. However, studies show most salt comes from processed and prepared food, so it is very important to read labels and educate yourself and your loved ones about how much sodium is recommended, especially those in high-risk groups.
- Elizabeth Thielke