Why Bread Might Be the Cause for Your High Blood Pressure

Many Americans consume more sodium than they know. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report that claims that nine out of 10 Americans eat too much salt.

According to the report, the average person consumes around 3,300 milligrams of sodium daily. The figure, which does not include the amount of added salt to a meal, exceeds twice the recommended intake for half of Americans. Those who are 51 and older, African-American or have high blood pressure or kidney disease are advised to consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.

Sodium is responsible for increases in blood pressure and has been responsible for numerous health problems, including strokes and heart disease. In fact, the effects of high consumption of sodium go beyond health-related issues. The country reportedly spent approximately $273 billion in health care money on such health problems in 2010.

"Heart disease and stroke are leading causes of death in the United States and are largely dependent on the high rate of blood pressure," said CDC director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden.

As Reuters reported last week, at least 10 different kinds of food account for 44 percent of daily salt intake, and bread appears to be the major culprit. Though bread may not have much salt in one single serving, regular consumption of this popular staple often contributes to high sodium levels. A slice of white bread, for instance, already contains close to 230 milligrams of salt.

In order to combat high sodium intake and its health-related effects, the CDC encourages Americans to eat more vegetables and fruits. They should also choose products that have the lowest salt content.

"One of the things that is driving blood pressure up is that most adults in this country eat or drink about twice the amount of sodium as is recommended," Frieden said. "Most of that extra sodium comes from common grocery store and restaurant items and a very small proportion from the salt shaker at the table."