I'm serious. We're giving away a FREE, healthy lunch. Gallatin County Extension and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services are partneting up to help you get healthy. We're hosting a FREE one-hour workshop on the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Eating Plan on June 28th in the Bozeman Fish Technology Center's Conference Room at 12 NOON. AND if you're feeling up to it, we'd love to go on a short walk around the Fish Tech Center Grounds. Please RSVP to the Gallatin County Extension Office at (406) 388-3213 by June 24th at 5pm. There is a registration limit of 20 guests. Read below for some quick tips on lowering your blood pressure.

Shaking the Salt Habit: Smart Steps to Lower Your Blood Pressure

“We know that shaking the salt habit is essential for middle-aged and older Montanans, especially those with high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, and those with diabetes.  Both of these conditions can lead to heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease” says Anna Whiting Sorrell, Director of the Department of Public Health and Human Services.

Some people are confused about the difference between salt and sodium – and unclear about how to most effectively reduce their intake. Sodium chloride is the chemical name for salt and most of the sodium we consume is in the form of salt. A teaspoon of salt contains about 2,400 milligrams of sodium. The Nutrition Facts label on food packages lists milligrams (mg) of sodium, while the front of packages may refer either to low-sodium or low-salt.

“Americans typically consume about 3,400 mg sodium per day,” explains Dr. Steven Helgerson, state medical officer. “The new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend less than 2,300 mg, with further reductions to 1,500 mg for anyone over 51 years age and for people with hypertension, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease.”

Many Montanans may be surprised to learn that most salt in their diet is not added during cooking or at the table. In fact, the majority of salt consumed in the US – about 75 percent – comes from processed and restaurant foods, frequently in foods that do not even taste “salty.” Here are a few other facts that may surprise you about salt, food and your health:

  • Salt content can vary greatly within the same or similar type of food: Label reading is critical because salt can vary dramatically between similar foods. For example, one slice of whole wheat bread can have twice as much salt as another. An ounce of processed cheese can have 410+ mg of sodium, whereas an ounce of natural cheddar may have only180 mg.
  • Salt can be hidden in foods that aren’t particularly salty: Some ‘top ten’ sources of salt in American diets might not be what you think: meat pizza, white bread, processed cheese, hot dogs, spaghetti with sauce, ham, catsup, cooked rice, white rolls, and flour tortillas.
  • One restaurant entrée can contain a day’s worth of salt or more: Restaurant menus do not usually list salt content, so it can be hard to make smart choices. It is not unusual for entrees to have 2,500 to 3,500 mg of sodium – or for salads with dressing to have 800+ mg.
  • Reducing your salt intake can help to lower your blood pressure within weeks: The good news about shaking the salt habit is that the benefits are almost immediate. Reducing your salt intake can start to lower your blood pressure levels in a little as 3 to 4 weeks.
Salt Shaker

**4-H is still accepting late registrations for Summer Camp June 21-24th. Please call the office to get your child invovled! ALSO.....We need your empty, gallon-sized milk or orange juice containers before camp!! Please bring them (clean, with lids) to the Gallatin County Extension Office at 201 West Main, Suite 300 in Belgrade (Brown office buildings next to Lee and Dad's).

**Having a Grizzly Day? Dealing with the Emotions of Deployment: A day camp for youth ages 5-9 with a loved one in the military is Wenesday July 27th. Mark your calendar and contact JoLynn Miller at the Gallatin County Extension Office (406) 388-3213 for more information.

**Operation: Military Kids Teen Leadership Camp-Building Resiliency within in Teen Military Community is a three-day, two-night camp for teens 13-18 with a loved one in the military August 9-11. Contact information is the same as the Grizzly Camp.