Health minister Tony Clement has formed an expert Sodium Working Group that will look at ways to reduce the amount of sodium added to processed foods. The group was formed in response to a call for urgent action to combat the "epidemic" of high blood pressure in Canada.
Forty-six percent of Canadian women and 38 percent of Canadian men over age 60 need to take medication to lower their blood pressure and manage their risk of stroke, heart and kidney disease. According to Blood Pressure Canada, reducing the amount of sodium added to processed foods - breads, breakfast cereals, canned soups and frozen entrées - could reduce the number of Canadians with high blood pressure by one-third.
The current daily adequate sodium intake is 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams for healthy adults. Most Canadians consume more the twice that amount thanks to added sodium in food products. While individuals make lower sodium food choices, the food industry also needs to take an active role and change their manufacturing practices to help consumers lower dangerously high sodium intakes.
In addition to targeting food companies, the Sodium Working Group plans to educate Canadians on the health risks associated with a high sodium intake and provide tips on how to reduce sodium consumption.
To reduce your daily sodium intake, try choosing fresh foods over processed foods and switch to seasoning with herbs and spices instead of salt. Read food labels to find out how much sodium is in pre-packaged food and choose lower sodium products more often.For more tips on reducing your sodium intake, click here.
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