Trying to reduce your sodium intake? If you are heavy handed with the salt shaker, this is a good place to start. Just 1 teaspoon of table salt has about 2400mg of salt. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend 2400mg of sodium daily and 1500mg daily if you have hypertension or high blood pressure. Unfortunately, most processed foods utilize salt as a preservative. So, not only do you have to be careful about adding salt to your food, but also the sodium content which is already in the food you eat. Your best bet is to try and eat foods that are naturally free of sodium and preservatives such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Frozen fruits and vegetables are also a good choice as they will not have added salt (unless they come pre-seasoned or in a sauce). Canned foods are typically high in salt, but you can find reduced sodium version and even salt-free options as well such as no salt added canned diced tomatoes. Reducing your sodium intake can have positive effects on your blood pressure and heart health. Try these tips to help manage your salt intake:
- Avoid adding salt to foods, use seasonings and spices instead. Try things such as garlic powder vs garlic salt, which provides all of the flavor without the sodium.
- Use reduced-sodium, low-sodium or salt-free canned foods. If you can’t find the salt- free versions, be sure to rinse and strain things such as canned beans to help reduce sodium content.
- Choose fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.
- Rice is naturally salt free, so make your own and add your own seasonings instead of buying the prepackaged options.
- Ask the deli counter for low-sodium versions of your favorite deli meats and cheeses.
- Keep the salt shaker off of the table.
For more information, visit the American Heart Association.