With the increasing prevalence of packaged, processed junk at the grocery store, low sodium foods can be hard to find. In fact, 90% of people eat more sodium than they’re supposed to.
Dietary guidelines suggest healthy adults should eat a maximum of 2,300 mg of sodium per day (just 1 tsp.). However, the average American consumes between 3,500 and 4,000 mg every day.
Also, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a report advising over 70% of Americans to eat more low sodium foods and cut their sodium intake to just 1,500 mg per day.
Among the people included in this recommendation are people with existing hypertension and people age 40 and up.
Health Consequences of Not Eating Enough Low Sodium Foods
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If your diet contains a lot of high sodium foods it can lead to serious health problems, including:
High blood pressure
In a National Institutes of Health study, men and women with pre-hypertension who reduced their sodium intake by 25 to 35% and ate more low sodium foods had a 25% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease over the 10 to 15 years after they reduced their sodium intake.
More and more research is emerging that shows low sodium diets are more important than we think.
– Eat more fresh foods, such as fruits, vegetables of various colors, lean meats, poultry, fish, and whole grains.
– Limit your use of sodium-filled condiments, such as salad dressings, sauces, dips, ketchup, and mustard.
– Rinse canned foods before using.
– When eating out, tell your server or the manager you’re on a low sodium diet. And, ask if he/she can recommend low-salt dishes or prepare your dish without added salt.
Reading Food Labels
Look for “low-salt” or “low-sodium” labels on cans and packages. These labels mean the food has 140 mg of sodium or less per serving.
“Very low sodium” means it has 35 mg or less per serving and “sodium free” signifies 5 mg or less per serving.
Also, pay attention to serving sizes. A 3-serving can of soup with 400 mg of sodium per serving actually gives you 1200 mg of sodium if you eat the whole can.
“Reduced-salt” or “reduced-sodium” simply means that the product has at least 25 percent less sodium than the original version of the same product; however, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the food is low in sodium.
No need to limit most fruits or fruit juices when watching your sodium intake
Fats, Oils, and Butter
All Natural Plant Oils (olive, coconut)
Butter From Grass Fed Cows
Low-sodium Salad Dressing (under 240 mg per serving)
Instead of these:
Soups, Seasonings and Condiments
Low Sodium Soups
Reduced Sodium Tomato Sauce
Fresh or Dried Herbs and Spices
Lemon and Lime Juice and Zest
Onion, Garlic, Pepper
Low Sodium Bouillon
Spice and Herb Table Blends
Low Sodium Soy Sauce
Instead of these:
Dry Soup Mix
Spice and Herb Mixes w/ added salt
Sauces such as Teriyaki, Soy, Ketchup, BBQ, or Worcestershire
Eating more low sodium foods now can set you up for a healthier life down the road—which could mean more time to spend with those you love. It’s up to you to decide if that’s worth putting down that shaker.
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