Lower Sodium for Healthier Heart and Feet

At Gentle Professional Foot Care we believe in a total body approach to your health. In honor of National Heart Month we want to offer some important information about sodium and heart health. We often hear that we should reduce our sodium intake but what’s the heart/sodium connection? Although sodium is an essential mineral for our bodies, when there is an excess of it in the bloodstream it pulls water into the blood vessels. This increases the total volume of blood in the vessels and that means higher blood pressure. Think of a garden hose and what happens when you turn up the water supply to the hose. In short, too much salt (sodium) makes your heart work harder and can lead to high blood pressure. When it comes to your feet, too much sodium causes you to retain water and that can result in swelling or edema in your feet and ankles, making it uncomfortable to wear your normal shoes, stand or walk.

Controlling Sodium in Your Diet

Before you can reduce the amount of sodium in your diet you need to know where it is. Sodium goes by many names, believe it or not. In addition to the obvious—salt--the word sodium buried anywhere in the ingredient list means sodium is present. Some forms off sodium you may not recognize include: disodium guanylate, monosodium glutamate, sodium lactate, trisodium phosphate and sodium nitrate.

Keep sodium levels down by following these tips:

Read the labels—when shopping compare different brands of the same product to find the lowest sodium option. Keep in mind too serving sizes are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. If you are on a lower calorie diet your sodium number should be lower.

Customize your order—in restaurants tell your server that you want your food prepared without any additional salt. You can then season as you like when the food gets to your table.

Cook more meals at home—if you’re doing the cooking you control the sodium. Experiment with different herbs, non-sodium seasonings and flavorful ingredients like citrus fruits to pump up the flavor without increasing your sodium intake.

A healthy heart means a healthy body and healthy feet! If you have more questions about foot health, let our podiatrist, Dr. Charles A. Suleskey, answer them. Contact our Venice office at: 941-493-7999.