(NC)—Before you reach for the salt shaker, know how that extra sodium (salt) can affect your body. Too much salt in your diet can lead to high blood pressure, a health concern for one out of every five Canadians. High blood pressure can increase your risk for heart attack, heart failure, stroke and kidney disease.

You can take action to reduce your sodium intake by doing the following:

• Use less or no salt when preparing meals.

• Pay attention to product packaging and look for foods labeled sodium-free, no added salt, low sodium, or reduced sodium. For example, PC Blue Menu products have an easy to read (-) symbol in an arrow that indicates lower sodium content or no sodium added.

• Use the Nutrition Facts table on food labels to choose foods that have less than 120 mg sodium per serving or less than 5% Daily Value (DV).

• Choose breads, crackers, baked goods, snack foods, canned sauces, soups and dressings with a low sodium count per serving.

• Talk to a pharmacist. Some grocery stores have even initiated programs for customer consultations. For example, the pharmacists in Loblaw banner grocery stores offer one-on-one guidance for concerns such as heart health, blood pressure and nutrition, including the recommended daily intake of sodium.

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