sodium blood pressure

Managing your Health by Managing your Sodium Intake

Keeping blood pressure in check can be easier said than done because it is very easy to over-consume sodium on an average day. Roughly 75 million American adults have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major contributor to stroke and heart disease. In college I often had to rewrite diets as part of classwork and I always noticed that sodium was the hardest to improve because so many foods are high in sodium. Making a change to reduce sodium in your eating habits can be overwhelming. You may wonder why it is important to keep your sodium levels in check; let’s find out.


Sodium is needed in the body to function properly; after all, it is one of the electrolytes.  Sodium assists in muscle contraction and proper functioning of the nervous system. If your body has too little sodium, you may feel tired, lightheaded, or mentally foggy. Unfortunately, it is incredibly easy to consume far too much sodium on a daily basis. Some studies show the lowest amount of sodium with which a person can still function is around 500 milligrams (mg) per day (Thalheimer). That is roughly around two servings of canned beans.


The average American consumes over 3,000 mg of sodium a day, which is well above the recommended limit of 2,000 mg a day (Mayo Clinic). Sodium causes the body to retain water, so when a person consumes large amounts of sodium, it causes their heart to pump more liquid in their bloodstream. Simply, the heart is forced to work harder, which results in increased blood pressure. Therefore the heart gets overworked and wears out more quickly.


Certain foods are high in sodium, and it is important to limit them. Canned foods, frozen meals, boxed foods, and many restaurant items are often high in sodium. Sodium keeps food from spoiling quickly and gives it a longer shelf life. This is why high levels of sodium are added to these types of foods during processing. Fresh foods are always going to be a better option for lower levels of sodium. Flash frozen bags of fruits and vegetables are also fine options. Also, foods high in potassium are great options because potassium helps balance fluids by flushing excess sodium from your body (Myers).


As I mentioned earlier, it can be tough to improve sodium levels in the beginning. It seems that everywhere you turn, foods are packed with sodium. A good way to start is to focus on making a few small changes initially and build off of that. More food is processed today than at any time in the past. Excessive sodium increases blood pressure, known as the “silent killer” because it usually does not have obvious effects until a serious medical event occurs. If your blood pressure is higher than the doctor would like use some of this information to get yourself on the right track.



CHES, ACE Health Coach, AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant





  1.  Get the Facts: Sodium and the Dietary Guidelines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. April 2016.
  2. Myers, Jasmine. “What Does Potassium Do For Your Body?” what-does-potassium-do-body.  Accessed February 22, 2017.
  3. Thalheimer, Judith. “Spotlight On Sodium: How Much Is Too Much, and How Little Is Too Little.” Today’s Dietician. Nov 2014: Pg 26.
  1. Sodium: How to Tame Your Salt Habit. Mayo Clinic. April 16, 2016.

resolutions podcast

Rick Adams Health Coach on the Evansville Podcast

Enjoy my segment on the Evansville Podcast from January 2017 where we talk about New Years resolutions and important tips to improve your health.

Evansville Podcast



Insurmountable Odds: How to make an Unlikely Comeback

The greatest comeback in Super Bowl history was coming back from a 10 point deficit. With 18 minutes left in Super Bowl LI, the patriots trailed the Falcons by 25 points. For most teams, this game would be all but over. Well, the Patriots ended up tying the game, sending it to overtime, and winning the game. In the 3rd quarter and up by 25 points, the Falcons were given a 99.5% chance of winning the game. Was it impossible to comeback and win that game? No. Was it incredibly unlikely? Absolutely. There is a lesson we can learn from this amazing comeback in our own lives.


We have all had times in our lives when our obstacles seem insurmountable. They can come in many different situations, like finances, family, health, education, or career. There are always times in life that will get you down, whether due to your own mistakes or to circumstances out of your control. That is when an important decision has to be made—do you push twice as hard to fight for your goal or do you decide it is too unlikely to accomplish and give up? If you want to reach your goals badly enough, no matter how difficult the resistance, there are ways to increase your chances of success.


Focus & Plan

When life gets tough, it can become stressful. Maybe you have to improve your performance at your job, or you have to improve your grades in school, maybe you find yourself running low on money. It can be tempting to become self-defeated, which makes the problem even more difficult to overcome. It is important to focus and plan your next steps. What steps can you take to start the process of getting yourself out of your bad situation? Every situation is different, so give some thought to your specific position and think of even small ways to make improvements. For example, rearrange your schedule to improve productivity at work, allocate more time to study, or cut back on unnecessary expenditures. The Patriots had to focus on scoring one touchdown before they could focus on the next three they would need in order to come back and win the game.


Take Advantage of Opportunities

In difficult times, you have to take advantage or even create your own breaks and opportunities. Look for openings to capitalize on and improve your situation. For example, is there a part-time job available to improve your finances, or can you make extra money from a hobby of yours? Is there a classmate that can help tutor you in school? Is your boss open to suggestions on improving the productivity of the workplace? Take advantage of situations like these, you already need all the help you can get. When all seemed lost, the Patriots forced turnovers and made big plays when they absolutely had to.


If you want something, you have to work hard for it. When you find yourself down in life, you have to work even harder. I will be honest, even when you make some changes to improve your situation, it may still be unlikely that you will succeed. The Patriots could have made all the correct moves near the end of the game and still easily lost. But remember this Super Bowl Patriots team when you find yourself on hard times in life. Even if you feel like you have a 99.5% chance of losing, you might just be able to win in the end.



CHES, ACE Health Coach, AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant