Americans have had a longtime love affair with salty foods. But we’ve also known for a long time that it’s not a healthy love affair — overconsumption of salt can raise the risk of hypertension, heart disease and more. A new campaign launched by the American Heart Association (AHA) aims to tear Americans away from this abusive relationship.
The “Sodium Break-Up” campaign is encouraging its followers to say, “I love you, salt, but you’re breaking my heart” and take a pledge to reduce the amount of salt they eat.
“It may take some time to achieve, but I deserve the healthiest of foods,” the pledge reads. “With this pledge I’m saying NO to the higher risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and other health problems — not to mention the bloating and puffiness — linked to too much sodium.”
An AHA survey has found that 97 percent of U.S. adults underestimate or don’t know how much sodium they eat each day, but more than 90 percent eat more sodium than is healthy. And 75 percent of that consumption comes from processed, prepackaged, and restaurant foods.
On the campaign’s website, readers are encouraged to share their “break-up stories.” A sodium quiz tests readers’ knowledge, and a blog, the Salty Scoop, will offer comments from experts and tips on how to cut salt out of your diet — from substituting more herbs and spices in home-cooked dishes to rinsing canned vegetables to cut down on sodium content.
Last week, AHA hosted a Twitter discussion on the topic, partnering with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (on behalf of the government’s Million Hearts Initiative) and Everyday Health. Participants used the #SodiumChat hashtag to discuss “how sodium affects heart health, how to be more aware of how much sodium we’re eating, how to reduce sodium in our diets, and how to use less salt and cook healthier meals at home.”
To make your own pledge, visit SodiumBreakup.Heart.org.
Donna Brutkoski authored this article.