Health Beat - Fall 2017 - 4


A Salty
Should we still be worried
about sodium in our diet?


or decades, we've been told that too much salt is bad for
us-particularly when it comes to high blood pressure and
heart health. But that hasn't stopped us from pouring it on:
Americans consume far more sodium each day than the 1,500
to 2,300 milligrams recommended by the American Heart Association.
In recent years, there has been conflicting research and debate
about what's considered too high-and even what's too low. Lawrence
J. Appel, M.D., a spokesman for the American Heart Association,
offers two insights into why it's not time to pick up your salt shaker:
Accurate research is difficult to come by. Determining how
much salt a person consumes is challenging, and not all methods
are equal, Appel says. For example, some recent studies relied
on "spot urine" testing (a one-time sample) to estimate sodium intake,
versus 24-hour testing that has been proved more accurate. Still, he
says studies have suggested a "pretty convincing" relationship between
sodium and blood pressure.
Low sodium intake isn't a public health problem.
Why? "It's almost impossible to get too little salt as a typical
American, even if you're preparing all your food yourself,"
Appel says. Remember: Even the healthiest unprocessed foods, such
as fruits and vegetables, contain small amounts of sodium.

Heavy on herbs and light on sodium, this
meal is brimming with New Orleans flavor.
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces (2 links) cooked andouille
sausage, cut into ½-inch slices
2 stalks celery, cut into ¼-inch slices
2 red bell peppers, diced in ½-inch cubes
1 large onion, diced in ½-inch cubes
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
¼ tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
1½ cups white long-grain rice
12 ounces large, raw, peeled shrimp
1 lemon or lime, cut into wedges



Break Up with Salt
So what should we do to reduce consumption? Tracking salt intake
might sound sensible, but it's difficult to do accurately. Appel suggests
a more realistic approach.
"Reduce salt intake where possible
by choosing foods that are fresh
and not processed when you
can. And read labels and
make lower-sodium
swaps," he says. "It's
a problem that
affects virtually
all of us, and
we need to
approach it
that way."1

Makes 6 servings (about 2 cups per serving).

Nutritional information per serving:
381 calories; 10.3 g total fat; 23.1 g protein;
48.9 g carbohydrates; 102 mg cholesterol;
597 mg sodium; 4.1 g dietary fiber.

GET tips on Twitter for cutting salt and keeping your heart strong: @American_Heart



1. In a stockpot over medium heat, warm oil.
Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally,
until it begins to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add
celery and bell peppers and cook, stirring
occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add onion and
cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add
garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until
vegetables are tender, about 1 minute.
2. Stir in broth, tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves,
paprika and cayenne. Stir in rice, bring to a
boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook
until rice is almost tender. Stir in shrimp,
cover and cook until shrimp is cooked
through and liquid is almost absorbed, about
4 minutes. Serve garnished with lemon or
lime wedges.


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