Q: My physician has recommended that I reduce my daily sodium intake. What are some simple ways to do this?
A: Sodium is added to everything from pasta sauces and condiments, to frozen foods, so it’s no surprise that the average adult consumes 3,400 mg of sodium per day. Many organizations such as the American Heart Association and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommend that adults should limit their sodium intake to no more than 2,300 mg per day to improve overall health. Reducing your sodium intake can be done with a few small changes in your diet. Purchase low-sodium or sodium-free varieties of your usual pantry items such as soup stocks, sauces and canned vegetables. Limit the use of processed and frozen foods. Limit your intake of condiments such as dill pickles, ketchup, mayonnaise, soy sauce and salad dressing. And finally, when cooking, instead of salt reach for lemon juice, citrus juices, dried spices and vinegar to add flavor to your food. Making one (or all) of these changes will reduce your daily sodium intake by hundreds of milligrams. As a bonus, become a “label sleuth” — it’s really as simple as reviewing the food labels to note the sodium contained to help you make a healthier option.
Q: The holidays are over, yet the stress still seems to be lingering. I feel as if I can’t get back on track with a regular schedule. Can you please provide some tips to help me cope with my stress?
A: Here are three very simple steps you can do to help you feel stronger, happier and better able to manage your stress. Begin by eating fresh, wholesome foods that will fuel your brain and boost your mood. Reaching for the junk food might give you instant satisfaction, but will make you feel depleted in the long run. Next, continue to stay physically active, as exercise is known to help reduce stress and clear your mind. And lastly, create an experience of joy somewhere in your day, such as watching a funny movie or curling up with your favorite book and a cup of tea. Setting aside this time for yourself can help you shift your thinking to feeling good and creating positive thoughts.
Information provided by Anytime Fitness, 2815 Beaver Ave, Suite 206, Des Moines, 274-2100.