How to reduce your sodium intake

How to reduce your sodium intake

Whether cooking at home or dining out, most of us salt our food out of habit (whether or not it’s needed), and we often add extra salt to food that’s already high in sodium. While government dietary guidelines recommend that Americans limit their sodium intake to 2,300 mg (one teaspoon) each day, most Americans ingest an average of 3,400 mg of salt per day.

That isn't to say that salt is all bad—in fact, our bodies need sodium in small amounts to function properly. Still, too much salt can have a negative effect on your health. If your kidneys have difficulty processing sodium (which can happen when there’s too much salt in your daily diet), it begins to build up in the bloodstream. This can cause high blood pressure, which in turn can eventually lead to stroke, coronary and kidney disease and congestive heart failure.

Since most of us ingest too much sodium on a daily basis, being aware of the foods you eat can go a long way in regulating sodium intake. Know that the majority of prepared and processed foods are high in sodium, often due to additives and preservatives. Always check food labels for a product’s sodium content before you buy, even for items like condiments and salad dressing.

When it comes to cutting the excess salt out of your diet, try these simple tips:

Get fresh. Whether it’s veggies, meat, poultry or dairy, fresh—not frozen—foods are almost always lower in sodium.

Go low. When you do buy processed food, look for low-sodium products, and always read the labels to avoid hidden sodium content. Also, limit your use of high-sodium condiments like soy sauce, salad dressing, ketchup and other dips and sauces.

Alternative seasonings. Instead of using salt for added flavor, use sodium-free herbs and spices to give your meal that little something extra.

Leave it out. Just because a recipe calls for salt doesn't mean you have to use it. In most cases, the flavor won't suffer and you can always add a pinch of salt at the table. If you love to cook, look for heart-healthy cookbooks and recipes.

Posted: 7/15/2015 by Goshen Health
Filed under: diet, health, salt, sodium

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