Nutrition and Daily Sodium Intake for Diabetic Patient with High Blood Pressure

Patient

Q: My mother is a 75 year old diabetic with high blood pressure. I am looking for prepared meals that can be purchased in local grocery stores. Through some online research I have found that healthy choice is recommended by the heart association. After reading the nutrition facts on the package I have a question concerning the amount of sodium. It states that the entree has 25% of sodium for the daily serving. Is that too much? Is there a better choice when looking for frozen or microwaveable foods? Thanks

Doctor

A:   Processed foods and pre-prepared meals all typically have high sodium contents, even those with reduced sodium content. For those patients with hypertension and diabetes, it is important to be on a reduced sodium diet and to limit sodium <100mmol/day = 2.4g sodium or 6 g sodium chloride. The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) has been promoted by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and may provide you with some useful guidelines. Another suggestion is to prepare meals yourself, therefore you know the exact ingredients and salt added, and then freeze each daily portion. If a package states it has 25% of the daily recommended sodium, you could check the exact quantity in grams, and then limit the combined other meals to 75% of the total daily sodium intake.

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