“Eating right” can be a minefield. One day, a food is good. The next, it’s a killer. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just unmasked a few unexpected killers.
The new report looks at foods that may put your blood pressure through the roof. And don’t say, “I know… don’t eat potato chips. Because salty snacks only ranked 7th on the list.
So far nobody I’ve talked to has even come close to guessing the #1 food. It’s just not on anyone’s radar. Because it’s one of the most popular “healthy” foods in the world.
But it could be slowly killing you.
Just How Much Sodium Are You Getting?
We all know chips are loaded with sodium. So is ham. And pretzels. It’s pretty easy to avoid an enemy when you know what it is. But we’re not so good at avoiding hidden enemies.
That’s why the average American eats 3,409 mg of sodium a day. And that’s sodium… not salt.
The CDC says you shouldn’t get more than 2,300 mg a day. Two-thirds of the average intake. And the American Heart Association says a maximum of 1,500 mg per day is ideal. That’s less than half of what most Americans get now.
But just a cup of soup and a turkey sandwich blows your entire day’s allotment of sodium. That’s without chips. Without oyster crackers. But it’s still 2,200 mg of sodium.
And that’s just one light meal.
Chances are you’re getting a lot more sodium than is healthy. And it’s not all coming from the foods you’ve been warned against.
For instance, take the #1 culprit in boosting your sodium intake…
The “Sodium Sneaks” Threatening Your Heart
You probably avoid salty snacks. You stay away from salty French fries. And you don’t salt your food at home.
Good for you! You’ve cut out the #7 and #22 contributors to sodium… and the only healthy salt in your diet. (Table salt is the #1 source of iodine.)
But that still leaves a whole lot of sodium in your diet. For example, the #1 source of sodium in the American diet is… bread.
That’s right. Even multi-grain breads are a major source of sodium. Plus, carbs like wheat, rice and potatoes drive up your blood sugar… and can help lead to insulin resistance and Type II diabetes.
Pizza takes the #2 spot for sodium. Pepperoni may be a popular topping, but it’s a major source of sodium and unhealthy fats. All the salt in the crust and cheese don’t help, either.
The #3 spot goes to sandwiches… because they contain bread and – often – processed/cured meats. Which may help explain why cold cuts and other cured meats take the #4 slot.
#5 goes to soups. Yup. Healthy, good-for-you-in-winter soups. They’re jam-packed with sodium
In the #6 spot, we find burritos and tacos. The growing Hispanic population is making some fairly unhealthy options very popular.
Of course, restaurants usually don’t serve the same tacos and burritos a Mexican family might eat at home. And those packaged “kits” aren’t exactly low-sodium, either. You really have to go “old school” to get a healthy burrito.
Prepare for Some Real Surprises…
One of the big surprises of the CDC report is that salty snacks – like potato chips – are way down in 7th place. But spots 8 – 10 will probably surprise you, too.
In 8th place comes chicken. Not just fried chicken. Plain old chicken. It’s followed by cheese in 9th place.
In 10th, we have eggs and omelets.
Cheese, chicken, and eggs are all “healthy” foods… but they add a lot of sodium to the average American’s diet.
So what can you do?
Eating for Heart Health
To begin with, build your meals around fresh vegetables. Eat lots of brightly colored veggies and leafy greens. But go light on root vegetables.
Also eat two or three servings of fresh fruit every day. Focus on fruits you eat with the skin on – like berries, apples, and pears.
Include a moderate amount of unsalted nuts – an ounce or so several times a week. And 3 – 4 servings of lean protein daily. Organic, grass-fed or free-range options are best.
You need sodium to survive. But too much can harm your heart. The more you eat fresh, organic, unprocessed foods, the better. Eating this way will also help control your blood sugar.
When you go fresh, you can even add a little table salt to get the iodine your body desperately needs.
About the Author: Jason Kennedy is a celebrated investigative health writer and the author of The X-Factor Revolution and Beyond the Blue Zone. With over 10 years of experience working with today’s leading alternative and anti-aging doctors, Jason shares his insider status and access to the latest breakthroughs with thousands of readers from around world.
Quader, Z.S., et al, “Sodium Intake Among Persons Aged ≥2 Years — United States, 2013–2014,” Weekly. Mar 31, 2017; 66(12); 324–238.
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