February is American Heart Month and a great opportunity to help spread awareness about preventing heart disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) reports heart disease and related conditions cost the U.S. roughly $313 billion each year in healthcare and medication costs and lost productivity. Many forms of heart disease can be prevented or managed with a healthy lifestyle – maintaining a healthy diet, staying active, regularly checking blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and taking the appropriate medications.
Making small changes, like reducing the amount of salt in your diet, can have a big impact on your heart health. According to AHA, 9 out of 10 Americans consume too much sodium. AHA recommends consuming no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. In addition to high blood pressure, excess levels of sodium may put you at risk for stroke, heart failure, kidney stones, osteoporosis, and other diseases.
Restaurant staff can be prepared to assist patrons in making heart-healthy meal choices by being familiar with AHA’s ‘Salty Six’ – six popular foods that add high levels of sodium to your diet:
- Breads & Rolls
- Burritos & Tacos
- Cold Cuts & Cured Meats
Join the fight against heart disease! Find out more by visiting heart.org.
John E. Aoki, M.D., CHCQM, FABQAURP
Chief Medical Officer
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