A study of senior women at the Shimane University Faculty of Medicine in Japan found that the average sodium intake among all the women studied was 5,211 milligrams a day. The women in the top 25 percent for sodium intake averaged 7,561 milligrams a day. Now there is evidence that having a very high salt intake is linked to a higher risk for bone fractures in women past menopause.
Dietary guidelines from the American Heart Association recommend no more than 6 grams of salt per day (a heaping teaspoon) or 2,300 milligrams of sodium. You should go even lower if you are trying to reduce your blood pressure: 1,500 milligrams of sodium or 3.8 grams of salt per day. On average, Americans consume 3,375 milligrams of sodium per day. One quarter of adult men get more than 5,200 mg per day and one quarter of adult women consume more than 3,500 mg per day.
Most of the sodium in our diet (about 75%) comes from processed foods; discretionary salt makes up 11% (5% from cooking and 6% added at the table).
The study found that women in the top 25 percent for sodium intake (7,500+ mg per day) were four times more likely to have bone fractures than women who had lower sodium intakes. This risk existed even after taking into account women’s risk for osteoporosis and other factors.
The National Institutes of Health recommends ways to reduce sodium intake.
- Buy no salt added vegetables.
- Canned foods tend to be High in salt buy fresh!
- Use herbs and spices instead of salt
- Cook without salt
- Cut back on frozen dinners, pizza and package mixes.
- Choose ready-to-eat breakfast cereals that are lower in sodium.
Assisting Hands can help evaluate eating habits and help caregivers shop for low sodium grocery products. Home aides can also do the grocery shopping and help prepare lower sodium meals. Contact Assisting Hands for more information.
If lowering sodium can help reduce the incidence of bone fractures, it makes sense to monitor salt intake.
Richard E Ueberfluss, PT