So, I am going to step up on my soapbox today. Fair warning if one wishes to scroll past, swipe left, or hit the back button and go elsewhere.

Last week the FDA set new targets for the level of sodium allowed in prepared foods. As a follower of this blog, you should know I tend to the less-prepared ingredients. (Low Sodium stocks/broths/sauces, etc.) What you may not know is why.

The two leading causes of death in the United States are heart disease and stroke / high blood pressure. Both of which are significantly influenced by sodium/salt intake. Recent numbers indicate that the average American consumes 3,400 mg of sodium daily. However, the recommended amount is 2,300 mg.

From my experience, this is not from the salt shaker or the kitchen. It sneaks in much earlier. So let’s take a substantial meal, tomato soup, and a grilled cheese sandwich. Pretty safe, sane, and run-of-the-mill.

One serving (1 cup) of a prepared soup (and who eats just one cup of soup) is 471 mg of sodium, a slice of bread has an average of 147 mg of sodium, and a piece of American cheese has 468 mg of sodium. So in one simple essential meal (that is more of a snack than a meal), we have 1,233 mg of sodium—nearly one-half of the daily recommendation.

So in this example, we had a cup of canned tomato soup, two slices of bread, one slice of cheese, and we did not account for the butter to grill the cheese. So what does this look like in a slightly different recipe?.

If I use my Tomato Soup Recipe, we have ~297 mg of sodium per serving, two slices of good rye bread will give us ~302 mg of sodium, and a portion of gouda will provide us with ~232mg of sodium. Thus, yielding a total of ~831 mg of sodium (~1/3 of the daily recommendation) for ~33% reduction in sodium for a larger, more tasty meal.

I know I am one for a quick and fast microwave meal, and given my addiction to ramen, udon, and the like, I am sure I am one of the most significant threats to my health. But the numbers show the less processed/ready to eat, the healthier the meal.

One guesses that a 3-minute microwave meal may be costing you more time than you think.

  Filed under: General

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