For seniors, one of the most beneficial dietary changes that can be made is consuming lower amounts of sodium. This may come as a surprise to some people, since sodium is so common to us. At the most basic level, salt is on virtually every table in our restaurants, diners, and even our own kitchens. How could something so common cause us or our loved ones damage?
As seniors age, their dietary needs change. On average, 90% of Americans are consuming significantly more sodium than is required for basic health, and for elderly people this fact becomes even more dangerous. Diets that are high in sodium produce such complications as high blood pressure and even stroke and heart disease.
By the year 2025 it is predicted that 60% of the American population will have high blood pressure.
The benefits of low sodium diets are significant, especially for those members of the senior generation.
Here are the Top 10 Reasons to Eat Low Sodium:
- Help Prevent Heart Disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S. today
- Help Prevent Stroke
- Help in recovery of Heart Disease
- Help in recovery of Stroke
- Lowers high Blood Pressure, which left untreated can lead to Kidney Disease, Heart Disease, or Stroke
- Reduces the harsh effects of Diabetes and Cirrhosis
- High amounts of sodium intake can lead to Hypertension and Kidney Failure
- Help prevent Hyptertension-related brain damage
- People with Diabetes are at a higher risk for developing High Blood Pressure, which can cause even more complication
- People with a low risk for Heart Disease live up to 10 years longer than people at high risk, on average
While low sodium diets are a great thing for anyone to be on, it may seem hard or impractical to maintain one. You may be wondering as a family caregiver what you can do to help reduce sodium in the diet of your senior loved one, or even in your own diet.
Here are some Tips on Reducing Sodium in Your Diet and the Diets of Your Loved Ones:
- Taste your food before adding salt
- Eat more home cooked meals
- Check food labels for sodium levels
- Try out different sodium-free seasonings and herbs
- Buy fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats
- Buy foods that are labeled as “low sodium” or “no salt added”
- Try to refrain from eating processed foods
- Avoid snacks that are notoriously high in sodium, such as chips or popcorn
- Be conscious of sodium in medications, like Alka Seltzer and Penicillins
- When possible, shop in health food stores as many of them are moving away from products with high sodium content
At SYNERGY HomeCare we are concerned for your health as well as the health of your loved ones. As a family member of a senior in need of a low sodium diet, we invite you to see how programs and services from SYNERGY HomeCare can make a difference in your lives.
by Chantel Heister
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