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- Local Residents Encouraged to Reduce Their Sodium Intake to Lower the Risk of Heart Disease -

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then reducing your daily sodium intake is a good way to help keep heart disease at bay.

During Heart Month in February, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is highlighting the risk of eating too much sodium, especially when it can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. Specifically, the Health Unit is promoting its Sodium How Much website which provides more information and ideas on reducing sodium intake.

“Eating too much sodium each day can be harmful to our health, so that’s why it is important to know how much sodium is too much,” says Elsie Azevedo Perry, a Registered Dietitian with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Eating less sodium, in addition to following Canada’s Food Guide and being active, helps us stay healthy and feel our best.”

Sodium is a nutrient found in processed foods, table salt and seasoning salts (including sea salt). While the human body needs some sodium to function, Azevedo Perry notes that many people eat much more than they require each day. “Most healthy adults need only 1,500 milligrams of sodium each day, but most Canadians consume more than double that,” she says. “The amount of sodium consumed by children each day can be triple what they need.”

According to Azevedo Perry, the salt shaker is not the main source of people’s high sodium intake. More than three-quarters of the sodium people eat comes from processed foods such as pizzas, sauces and soups. Ready-to-eat foods, fast foods and restaurant meals are also high in sodium, she adds.

In addition to visiting the Health Unit sodium website for ideas on reducing sodium intake, Azevedo Perry provides a number of other practical ways that people can control their sodium intake:

• Review the nutrition information on food packages at the grocery store. Choose foods that contain less than 360 milligrams of sodium per serving.

• Eat fewer packaged, ready-to-eat foods. Instead, plan ahead to prepare home-made meals with lower sodium ingredients.

• Get back to basics. Eat more fresh or frozen vegetables and fruit, as these tend to have no sodium and are loaded with health benefits. To save money, look for sales, buy in-season and purchase produce grown in Ontario by visiting the Foodland Ontario website for a listing of what’s available throughout the year.

“Let’s put our hearts into consuming less sodium each day,” Azevedo Perry says. “Our taste buds will quickly adapt to foods that are lower in sodium. Eating less sodium will also do wonders for our overall health and well-being.”


For media inquiries, contact:

Elsie Azevedo Perry, Registered Dietitian, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100, or 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1218

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«January 2019»