We Americans consume too much sodium. The American Heart Association recommends 1,500 mg/per day; 97 percent of the population (that includes children) consumes about twice as much. This is known to contribute to increased rates of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke resulting in thousands of death each year. Most of the sodium in our diet
comes from processed and restaurant foods. I try to manage my sodium intake diligently but eating out causes all types of obstacles. Earlier this week, we went to a restaurant and I decided to have their chicken noodle soup as it was the special of the day. I thought the cooks in the kitchen must have labored hard to prepare the day’s batch. First sip of the broth woke up more taste buds than I thought were still alive and working – the salty taste was overwhelming. I pointed the problem to the waiter, who was very nice, apologized and declared, “That is how it comes from the corporate kitchen.” He then explained that the local cooks had tried to add water to reduce the salty taste, but then the soup became too watery and customers complained. I inquired, “Couldn’t they make some unsalted chicken stock and take care of the problem that way?” His response, “We don’t have the budget or time for that.” Today I attended a holiday lunch buffet, the sliced beef in au jus looked good, but the first taste puckered my mouth – extremely salty. Again, found out that the beef comes precooked from the supplier, restaurant unpacks it, heats it, and serves. Again, too much salt; it is used to preserve the pre-cooked foods, abundantly used in most restaurants, especially the chains. Oddly, few people ever complain; most are used to heavily salted dishes and may even find the reduced recommended salt intake too low for their taste. In the meanwhile, the occurrence of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke is on the rise.Let’s be careful this holiday season and make an effort to reduce our salt intake, your vital organs with thank you.