Heart Healthy Solution for Teens

Articles
December 13, 2010

Heart Healthy Solution for Teens

Hypertension, or high blood pressure affects 1 in 3 adults, according to the American Heart Association; and a new study found that if teens cut their daily salt consumption by 3,000 mg, they would reduce their risk for hypertension by 30-45 percent as adults.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure affects 1 in 3 adults, according to the American Heart Association; and a new study found that if teens cut their daily salt consumption by 3,000 mg, they would reduce their risk for hypertension by 30-45 percent as adults.

The study also found that the same daily reduction would cut their risk for heart disease and stroke significantly in adulthood.
So, where is the sodium coming from, how do we know how to cut the salt? Most all of our food contributes to daily sodium intake, but a whopping 77 percent comes from processed and restaurant foods, while only about 10 percent comes from the shaker. The CDC names five foods that seem to be staples in the American diet as contributing the most sodium.

Yeast breads: this basically means bread! Whether it’s what you use to make a sandwich, dip in soups, or enjoy alongside a meal, bread is contributing to a huge amount of our sodium intake!

Chicken and mixed chicken dinners. Between the various sauces, seasonings and the side dishes, restaurant and prepackaged chicken meals contain much more sodium than you could imagine adding at home.
Pizza. What is it about pizza that makes it on this list? The dough! Pizza dough is in essence a yeast bread, and to get that super savory, make you want to come back for more taste, pizza you eat out or defrost from the freezer contains a hefty amount of sodium.

Pasta Dishes. For the same reasons as mixed chicken dinners and pizza, consumers are getting their fare share of sodium in pasta dishes.

Cold cuts: That’s right, deli meats are contributing significantly to our daily sodium intake. If possible, choose the low or no-sodium counterpart to your favorite deli meat- you can add salt at home if you need to, in comparison it will be much less than the full salt version.

Teaching teen’s healthier eating habits, especially those with proven health benefits is a great way to encourage healthy habits at a young age and change perception of how foods should taste. Other benefits over time as teens hit middle age include a seven to twelve percent reduction in coronary heart disease, on average an eleven percent reduction in heart attacks, and a five to eight percent reduction in stroke, according to data presented at the American Heart Association meeting.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams. Currently, teenagers consume more than 3,800 milligrams – which is more than any other group.