Insider look at daily sodium intake might leave some, well, salty

Canned, frozen foods and condiments among culprits

DEBORAH LEE WALKER ¦ Contributing Writer

(Nov. 9, 2012) Sodium is essential for fluid balance, muscle strength and nerve function. U.S. guidelines recommend less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, which is equivalent to 1 teaspoon. But the saltshaker might not be the culprit. Read the labels before one purchases food items; you might be in for a surprise. Following are examples of foods that are particularly high in sodium.

Modern technology has perfected the art of “frozen dinners,” but this convenience also provides a tremendous amount of sodium. A 5-ounce frozen turkey and gravy dinner contains 787 milligrams of sodium. Unless you plan to take a two-hour spinning class, my suggestion is to find an alternative meal.

Canned vegetables have never fancied my palate for several reasons. I find the taste to be very lacking and the texture to be soft and unappealing. It has also been a known fact that canned vegetables are very high in sodium. Depending on the brand, one cup of creamed, canned corn can contain as much as 730 milligrams of sodium.

Fresh or frozen vegetables are always my preferred choice.

I am not a fan of fruit juices unless they are freshly squeezed; however, I do love vegetable juices. That being said, you might want to check out the label for nutritional value before you indulge on a regular basis. One cup of vegetable juice can contain as much as 479 milligrams of sodium per cup.

I stopped buying deli meats a long time ago. I find they are very expensive and again full of salt. I prefer to cook a turkey breast; the flavor is superior and much healthier. Did you know that two slices of salami contains 362 milligrams of sodium? By the time one adds mustard and mayonnaise, the sodium figures are much higher.

While we are on the subject of condiments, mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, etc. are packed with salt. The next time you pull up through a drivethru of a fast food restaurant, just remember one little packet of ketchup contains 110 milligrams of sodium.

Another salt-shocker is cereal. Some brands of raisin bran contain as much as 250 milligrams of sodium per cup of cereal. When one is scrutinizing the aisle of cereals at your local grocery store, you do not deem that sodium can be an issue in “healthy” cereals.

I have saved the best for last: guess what is the No.1 source of sodium consumption in the American diet? If one guessed bread, you are correct. According to an article, “Beware: Hidden Fast Food Traps,” one 6-inch Roasted Garlic loaf from Subway has 1,260 milligrams of sodium. That is equivalent to 14 strips of bacon!

I am the first to admit I love salt, but my purpose is to encourage you to read the label. It is no time like the present to become an educated consumer; your health is well worth it.

Cold weather is here and memories of homemade apple butter makes my mouth water. Following is a simple recipe, but it does take time. However, the cooking process of a crockpot allows one to focus on other matters while the flavors slowly develop. Enjoy!

Apple Butter
5 pounds apples (tart and tangy)
peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch
chunks
2 cups apple cider
1 cup sugar (sifted)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2/3 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and

bake the apple chunks on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for about 20 minutes. Transfer the apples and any juices to a slow cooker.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and thoroughly mix. Place lid on cooker, turn heat on low and cook for 10 hours.

3. Remove lid, stir and turn heat to high and cook for an additional 2 to 3 hours.

4. Turn off the crock pot and puree apple mixture.

5. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Secret Ingredient: Discretion. “Discretion is the perfection of reason, and a guide to us in all the duties of life” … Sir Walter Scott.

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