N25 — July 2013 — Picnic Problems: High Sodium
Intro: Hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and potato salad. Those are the fixings for a fantastic Fourth of July picnic. The problem is this menu is loaded with sodium, which can be bad for your health, especially if you have heart disease. Mayo Clinic experts have tips on how to enjoy holiday food without consuming too much sodium.
On and after the 4th of July Holiday, emergency departments like this one at Mayo Clinic beef up their staff. Not just to prepare for firework injuries, but to care for people who get into trouble because they ate too much sodium at holiday picnics.
"The ones who are truly at risk are those who have heart disease, meaning their heart doesnít pump well. People with heart failure."
Dr. Stephen Kopecky [Koh-petsí-key]says sodium raises blood pressure. Hereís how: Your arteries are like this pipe. Pressure is determined by how much water flows through it. If thereís a lot of sodium in your system, thereís extra fluid in your blood, which increases pressure in your pipes or arteries.
"It can tip you into a heart attack. It can tip you into heart failure where your heart fails to meet the bodyís demands. It canít pump enough fluid so you get very short of breath."
So, what can you eat at that cookout?
"I really do not believe in denying oneself."
Dr. Kopecky says, just be smart about it. First, eat small portions, maybe half a hot dog instead of a whole one.
"If you eat a hot dog, with the bun, maybe a little mustard, maybe a little ketchup. Thatís easily 1100 milligrams of sodium."
And the daily intake for someone with heart issues should be 1500 milligrams. For those without heart issues, 2200 milligrams.
Second, fill up on fruit and veggies. And third beware of hidden sources of sodium such as soft drinks, processed foods, canned goods, cheese, meats, sauces and breads.
"If you get a hamburger and French fries, thereís likely more sodium in the bread of the hamburger than in the French fries."
Check labels of the types of foods youíll eat beforehand so youíre aware of where the sodium is hiding. So, sure, take a few bites of grandmaís famous homemade coleslaw youíve been craving all season. Just pay attention to what and how much youíre eating.
For Mayo Clinic News Network, I'm Vivien Williams.
Dr. Kopecky says only about 10-percent of the sodium we eat comes from the salt shaker. The rest is already in the foods we eat, so be sure to check labels. Another tip is to use salt substitutes.
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