Fruits, Veggies Low in Sodium

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HOCKESSIN, Del.—In response to the just released report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) that recommended the government regulate the amount of sodium content in foods, the Produce for Better Health Foundation is reminding consumers that fruits and vegetable have little to no sodium are an great sources of vitamins and minerals.

"Some level of sodium is required in a healthy diet, however the IOM report suggests what we've long known, that most people are consuming too much," said Elizabeth Pivonka, PhD, RD, president and CEO of Produce for Better Health Foundation, the non-profit organization behind the Fruits & Veggies-More Matters® national public health initiative. "We know that high sodium intake is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure and strokes, and that most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in sodium or sodium-free. If people simply focus on eating more fruits and veggies, both at home and when dining out, their diets will generally be lower in sodium, which could lower their risks for these health problems. Conversely, hypertension has also been associated with diets too low in potassium. Fruits and vegetables are some of the best sources of potassium in the diet, so adding more of them can help lower health risks in this way too."

Pivonka said that canned vegetables contribute very little sodium to the diet when compared with processed meats, cheeses, baked goods and other foods. 

"Several canned vegetables do contain added sodium. However, a study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition about processed foods being the major contributors to dietary salt intake found that sauces, spreads, and processed meats were the highest in sodium food groups while cereal products and fruits and vegetables were the lowest in sodium,” she said. “The Journal of the American Dietetic Association also reported that canned vegetables contribute less than one percent of sodium to dietary intake. This proves that fruits and vegetables, which are naturally low in sodium, are not the main contributors to a high-sodium diet."

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