How much sodium is in your dinner?

If you're one of the many Americans who suffer from high blood pressure due to sodium intake, you may be wondering how you can eat out and still keep your health on track. While fast-food items are often believed to the the worst offenders when it comes to salt (at nearly 1,850 milligrams per 1,000 calories)1, sit-down restaurants are actually worse. For every 1,000 calories in a dish, there's about 2,100 milligrams of sodium.

According to CNN, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working to reduce the use of sodium in the restaurant industry. While you can control how much salt you put on a dish and what items you order off the menu, you have no say over the sodium contents of that food. And, in most cases, you also don't have access to the nutrition information of most foods sold at restaurants.

In Philadelphia, there's currently a significant push for improving food options for local residents. By way of The Healthy Chinese Take-Out Initiative, the Philadelphia Department of Health is working jointly with a number of other organizations to help people eat less salt.2

So, what can you do when you're not eating at home? If you're swinging by a burger joint for a quick dinner, avoid the over-sized portions found in on the value menu. Not that Wendy's junior cheeseburger deluxe has 830 milligrams of sodium, compared to Ruby Tuesday's bacon cheese pretzel burger, coming in at 3,257 milligrams of sodium. When it comes to breakfast on the go, Panera Bread can be a great pitstop. Their breakfast power sandwich has 920 milligrams of sodium, and only 340 calories.3 However, when trying to control your blood pressure, it may be best to head into the kitchen yourself.

Individuals can purchase blood pressure equipment and monitors from Medex Supply, an online medical supply store that carries an assortment of medical supplies.

1 CNN Health, "How restaurants can reduce salt in your food" January 23, 2014
2 Food Fit Philly, "The Healthy Chinese Take-Out Initiative"
3 CNN Health, "Eat out? Best, worst choices"

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