Tips on controlling your sodium intake while celebrating the NCAA tournament
CHICAGO—The NCAA tournament is an exhilarating time of the year where college basketball dominates. You’re likely to be with family and friends in front of a big screen cheering on your team, all while eating those game time favorites. But did you know a lot of common party foods are packed with excess sodium?
It’s not just the french fries and potato chips you need to be careful with while watching your favorite player hit a three-pointer at the buzzer. The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association wants to raise awareness of the “Salty Six” – common foods that may be loaded with excess sodium that can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.
- Breads & Rolls
- Cold Cuts & Cured Meats
March Madness parties typically consist of buffalo chicken wings, pizza, sandwiches layered with cold cuts and other foods high in sodium. While the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association recommends Americans consume less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day, most people are consuming more than twice the recommendation -- 3,400 milligrams.
For the one in three Americans who will develop high blood pressure, a high-sodium diet may be to blame. Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide, and high blood pressure is a major risk factor.
One piece of bread can have as much as 230 milligrams of sodium while a serving of turkey cold cuts could contain as much as 1,050 milligrams of sodium. If you’re consuming multiple sandwiches throughout a game, your sodium intake can add up quicker than points on the score board.
When hosting a party, check the labels on these items and look for lower sodium selections to serve. For guests, portion control does make a difference so be careful about over indulging.
If you’re going to eat pizza, try to aim for one with less cheese and meats or try something different and add veggies instead. Buffalo chicken wings are a college game time staple but try eating skinless poultry that is not enhanced with sodium rather than fried or processed options.
So this year, as you’re celebrating March Madness, keep the “Salty Six” in mind. Making an effort to reduce the sodium in your diet will help you feel better and live a heart-healthier life.
For more sodium tips and resources visit www.heart.org/saltysix