Iowans need to back off the salt for the health of it
April 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson
Cardiovascular diseases and stroke are the leading causes of death for Iowans, according to the state chapter of the American Heart Association. Salt intake is getting a lot more attention now on food labels and in the media, which is potentially life-saving news, according to registered dietician Marianne Merrick. Merrick says, “We can really decrease the number of deaths from heart disease if we start paying more attention to how much sodium we are having on a daily basis.” Merrick advises patients who have a salty appetite to slowly start weaning themselves off sodium, especially by keeping an eye on labels of canned and packaged products. She says most of us have too much sodium in our diets.
“Our intakes are too high,” Merrick says. “A big part of it is eating processed foods. I’m a big promoter of going back to basics.” That means eating healthier by eating more fresh foods, especially fruits and vegetables. She says, “Not having the canned foods and the lunch meats and even bread and rolls can be high in sodium, reading those labels.” A recent national study concludes that merely cutting back on salt could save hundreds of thousands of lives nationwide in the next decade. Iowa sees an average of 92-hundred deaths every year from cardiovascular disease. Some 90-thousand Iowans have heart attacks or are diagnosed with coronary heart disease every year, and 60-thousand Iowans have a stroke.