Wednesday, May 9, 2012

WRITERCARE: Sodium -- Why Writers Must Care

by Elizabeth Knowles Palladino

Salt sounds like a good thing, doesn’t it? We are the salt of the earth. We are worth our salt.

Salt is a nutrient necessary for life, and we need one-quarter of a teaspoon daily. Sodium controls the fluid balance in our bodies, and maintains blood volume and blood pressure. The problem is that an average American ingests five or more teaspoons of salt each day. A diet that is too high in sodium can raise blood pressure, resulting in swelling of the legs and feet. Water may collect around the lungs and cause shortness of breath. A reduced sodium intake can prevent or control hypertension, and can prevent cardiovascular disease.

If you want a long career filled with good health and lucrative book contracts you must watch your sodium intake. Almost 80 percent of all the sodium consumed comes from processed foods. Eat more home-cooked meals made from scratch. Lean toward fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. Eliminate salty foods, reduce the amount of salt in cooking, and keep the salt shaker off the table. The Mayo Clinic recommends reading nutrition labels to determine sodium content in foods.

The American Heart Association strongly encourages a sodium intake of no more than 1,500 mg per day, but any reduction can only help your health—and your career!

Elizabeth Knowles Palladino lives in Kingston, New York, where she works in health care and writes medieval romance.

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