High Blood Pressure and Alzheimer's: Which Foods to Avoid
In the past few years, I've become more attuned to sodium content in foods. My dad now lives near me and he has a history of high blood pressure. He has started pointing out the sodium content in packaged foods and I've tried to be thoughtful in what I cook when he comes over for dinner. I'd already starting reading labels, but this nutritional information took on a personal relevance when I learned this week that my blood pressure is too high. That health situation is scary since there is research that ties blood pressure to Alzheimer's.
So I was quite interested this morning to see an article by Matt Zinczenko and Matt Goulding from Men's Health entitled "20 Saltiest Foods in America." The article describes the sodium-laden choices you can make at certain restaurants. Zinczenko and Goulding put things in perspective early in the article by noting that one teaspoon of salt has the daily recommended allotment of sodium (2,300 milligrams). Using this as a baseline, the authors point out some entrees at your favorite restaurants can significantly exceed the daily sodium allotment (so think of what your daily salt intake must be when you dine out at some of these places).
For instance, Chili's Guiltless Grill Chicken Platter has 2,780 milligrams of sodium while Romano's Macaroni Grill Chicken Florentine Salad has 5,460 milligrams of sodium. And the saltiest entrée title, according to the authors, goes to Romano's Macaroni Grill Chicken Portobello, with a total of 7,300 milligrams of sodium. And many of these entrees would have been the dishes I would select on the menu because they "sound" healthy!
With debates about health care policies ongoing among the U.S. presidential candidates, it's important to think seriously about what our health care system looks like. But I'd also like to suggest that it starts with small policy steps, such as providing health warnings on restaurant menu items. It's those small steps that can help to change the big picture.